Friday, December 31, 2004

Thursday, December 30, 2004


I'm sickened at my own compliancy, at my inability to do anything, and my complete ignorance to the pain that's out there.

expressed much better here. See post dated Wednesday Dec.29.


so, something that I don't really understand is that I've checked my profile, and it say's I've only got 25 posts in my site.... the problem is, it's said that for weeks now. And I know I've typed more than 25... what gives?

Lome sunset 2004

doesn't that look nice and warm?
I wish I was nice and warm again.


So the point of yesterday's post...
the princess thing. I got a little caught up in playing with the editing.

I have officially slid back into an annoying Canadian Young Adult habit. I am a consumer.
I like it.

I decided on a dress for the new year's eve party, I feel like a princess. And I get to wear a tiara. The only thing that remains is: will he be there?
No matter, I will not pursue, I will be pursued.
Besides, Manda will be my real date anyway.... NO KISSES!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Like a princess

Did you have a good Christmas? I had a good Christmas. Santa was very generous this year... Did you know that there was such a thing as a wind-up flashlight? How handy! I'll never need to buy batteries again! Now.. If only dear Maggie would make such a creation! *sigh* soon and very soon I imagine.
So, I had the pleasure of working Christmas morning. Where would the pleasure be in that you might ask?
I got to watch the guys open all their Christmas gifts!!!! How fun!
AND this year we had a little extra money around I guess, because the gifts were a-piled high!
At one point Mr. R turned to me (as I put yet another gift in front of him) and said "I can't keep up with Santa" Then he shook his head in disbelief... I laughed.

ok, so I'd forgotten the joys of creating links to web-sites... Please forgive me until I get it out of my system!

Friday, December 24, 2004

soft shoe routine anyone?

so right now the Friesen family (and Barb too) should be right in the middle of a soft shoe routine in order to get their Christmas presents!!!!
hee hee hee
I set up a little game before I left.
In order to figure out which present is their's; they've got to do a number of silly stunts and scavenger hunts and clue finding/busting.... oooooh, I wish I was there to see it!

good luck guys!
And thank you Alaye for your help too! (Did they get the word for belly button right?)


Ok, so you may remember a little thing known as WA-WA (I've had a few people bring it up since I got home)

See post from 10/22/2004 "Grrrr Wa-Wa" if you're not up to speed on that.

So I'd like to make my own little adjustment to it....


Canadian Arctic Wins Again

Yesterday a whole bunch of snow and freezing rain hit central Ontario. It seemed to stop right at the edge of Port Hope, Cobourg got only a little snow. Later in the day we had rain... The rain turned the little snow to slush... No problems here.

This morning I decide to go warm up my car before I go to work... I didn't really feel like walking, being as the temp at 6:30 was around -20 C. Yeah, remember that comment about the "slush... No problem"? The slush is now an inch and a half of ice holding the garage door shut.

I went back inside and called Dave. "Dave" says I, "I'll be 10 mins late, I've got to walk".
Now it's snowing. When I finish work I plan on arming myself with several pots of boiling water and rescuing my Morgan from his icy jail cell. Poor little dear.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


I'm home...

I'm cold.....

WHY do we go caroling in the cold?????

someone kick me please if I EVER volunteer to do it again.....

I'll write more tomorrow night.

*teeth chattering*

Friday, December 17, 2004

whipped cream

well, I'm Ethiopia, and so far so good.. we haven't had to stop for plane parts this time! Although after our first landing (in Nigeria) I thought we'd have to stop and buy some new tires, know how usually the plane bounces a few times, like it's testing the runway? The pilot DROPPED us on to the runway... and half the luggage compartments popped open! it was pretty funny.
Ok, so I saw the coolest thing... other than the goat that was tied to the top of the taxi yesterday... tied standing up ON TOP of the taxi... and other than the lady with the four dead animals on her head.. I think they may have been goats, don't know, they were skinned...
ok, so we take off in Lome and follow the coast for a little while, the air is clear, big fluffy whiter than white clouds are towering into the sky around us (but no further than the beach, there was nothing over the water) then we turned north. We had only been going that way for about 2-3 mins when I looked out and saw this strange fog... dirty fog that we were about to fly over... then you could barely see the ground. it was like looking at a slightly out of focus sepia photograph. It was Harmatan! I hadn't thought about the fact that you could see it from up there.. ok, but the coolest part was the clouds... they looked like little red cotton balls below the fog, but in some places they reached out above the harmatan, whiter than white. It kida reminded me of iceburgs floating in weak tea.... very cool.
praise God I had two seats to myself on the way here (window!!!!!) it was nice!!!
see you soon I love you

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Ok, so tomorrow marks the last morning that I wake up in Togo… lol, today that sounds like a great idea, I’d forgotten how HUMID it is down here in Lome! When we arrived yesterday my hair was straight, but by the time I’d carried my bags to my room it was curly… go figure!
I spent my last day in Kara being a tourist, taking pictures, visiting the market, practicing my bad Kabye at the centre… the day went by pretty quickly. It was hard to say good bye to people… I hate good byes!!! Marv drove me down to Lome, and Lisa came too, so I had to do goodbyes with the rest of the family back in Kara… I am going to miss that family… let me tell you!
So, is there anyone interested in putting together a team to do the kid/teen program this summer? Let me know SERIOUSLY. It’s two weeks of VBS stuff (so a three week trip- gotta factor in travel time etc) in the end part of July. A wide age group, the parents who are missionaries with SIL/Wycliffe have their Spiritual retreat/conference, and they need a group to do child care/VBS/Youth group while it’s on. Email me if you want some more info.
Ug, I can’t remember all the things I wanted to write today….
Check out Brian and Christy’s website if you get the chance. They’ve got some great pictures and stories of their time here. They are a young couple (ok, the ONLY people my age who speak English) working as teachers for another group of missionary families. They are amazing, and I kick myself a little each day for not getting to know them sooner. They arrived around the same time that I did, and they are staying for the full school year, pray for them when you remember!
Well, I’m not feeling so articulate this morning,
Labi jet (see you tomorrow)Les

Sunday, December 12, 2004

soon and very soon

This will likely be my last post until I get home. I leave Kara to drive to Lome on Wednesday morning, and I don’t think we’ll be bringing any computers with us. SO if I’m not too jet lagged on Sunday, I’ll try to get a little report in :)

Praise God
I’m tired, I’m hot and I’m lonely.
But I get to come home soon, and it’s been an amazing time. I’ve seen first hand how God plans things out even when we don’t really understand the purpose of things. And it’s been an incredible experience being a part of His plan! I still remember thinking last spring, when I first felt like I was suppose to be going on some sort of short term project, that it was strange timing, and short notice… I remember seeing the reaction on some people’s faces when I said “I’m suppose to be going somewhere in September, but I don’t know what I’m suppose to be doing..” and realizing that their reaction was exactly what I was feeling in my own heart. It’s pretty neat…

Now I’m sitting here listening to Spot (our spot-free “guard” dog) try to catch the skink that I’ve just chased out of the living room onto the porch, and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by! In a matter of days I’ll be home. No more mosquito nets to fight with at night, no more washing my feet more often than brushing my teeth, no more geckos falling from the door frame onto my head… (no more wriggling gecko tails on the front porch!) (Spot likes to leave that part behind) No more chickens, pigs, goats, mosques, church bells, loud insects, pentads, motos or others waking me up at 4am. No more sun burnt nose (for a little while longer anyway) No dust filled eyes, ears, nose, mouth (read teeth), hair. No more pot holes with pot holes in them, no more scary roads… someone really should build some sidewalks here! BUT that also means no more tomato ladies, no more village experiences, no more “Larium Delirium”, no more market, no more interacting with the people here, no more working with the kids, no more children singing “yovo, ansi” no more amazing views and sights, no more “ladies in training” (hey, I didn’t give it that name, they did) - girls bible study, no more being a part of life here… that’s not true, there are tons of things I can being doing from home…

Does your church have a missionary (or missionary family) out in the field/at home on furlough? contact them (EVEN IF YOU’VE NEVER MET THEM!!!)… ask them how you can being praying for them… send them letters.. send them Christmas cards. Let them know they haven’t been forgotten. We continually say we want to be doing more for missions… these are the simplest of things that can be done!!!! The people here are working hard, but they NEED to have support from home. They NEED encouragement. They NEED prayer…
sorry a little tangent there..

love you all,

Les Tomates

Tomato ladies. So the other night Barb and I were sitting on the porch swatting mosquitoes and dreaming of ordering a pizza. HA (that was a Pastor Scott laugh). Were trying to figure out how we would give directions to people’s homes for delivery… if in fact there were a pizza place that delivered. If in fact there were a pizza place. If in fact anyone knew what a pizza was. (untrue, you can get something that resembles a pizza at both restaurants in town). We imagined sending them to Brian and Chirsty’s place (see new link in “people I love”, more on them later). “Ok, so deliver the pizza to the second or third street after the bigger soccer field, pass the moto repair place… well, maybe it’s not moto repairs… maybe it’s just a resting spot for moto drivers… pass them, go to the place where the road splits, take the one on the left, it looks more like a bike path. Then pass the house with the cement walls with diamond shapes in it… it might be the next house or the next house. It’s cement, with a rust-coloured gates, and the trim on the windows is painted blue. But you can’t see that part because it’s behind the wall.” Those are the actual directions I was given when I called Christy. As for our house, that’s an easy delivery! Take the main road. Turn when you reach the tomato lady corner. first house on the right after the pig hole with working lights… unfortunately the tomato ladies leave after the sun sets, so you’ll just have to guess which corner it is, and it’s dry season now, so the pig hole is gone.

This morning I went to church with the Crocker family up to Tamburma-land… I love church under a tree. However, there is one draw-back. There are lots of interruptions! In the middle of prayer time, who should wander into our midst? One big fat pig. Benjamin chased him away, much to everyone’s amusement.. Ben is just over a year old. Not much later, three Banty chickens wandered into our circle. Not more than 5 mins later a flock of Pentads walked right past us… they are NOISEY! (you can find some of them at the Peterborough Zoo, right behind the playground equipment, it’s that random looking pen that looks as if there’s nothing in it.) There’s one yelling right now outside the window!
I love going out to the village for church. This is the one with the CRAZY mountain pass (see picture) and the area where people live in tatas (little castle homes).

I found out that Lynn’s 70!

ok, too hot to type, going to stop, will write more despite what the second post says… ok ok, I wrote it first.

pass to Tamburma-land

Originally uploaded by L. Bo.
yep... we stopped just for a short break, there were a few trucks on the mountain ahead of us...
Then we realised they weren't going down at all... they had driven too close to the side of the mountain and had tipped INTO it... so they were wedged and waiting for help to eventually come... there wasn't anything we could do, and no one was hurt... despite the fact that the cab of the first truck had FOLDED under itself, so the grill was on the ground and the cab had come apart from the body of the truck... the driver had climbed out the window.

Monday, December 06, 2004

rainy season

village church 056
Originally uploaded by L. Bo.
some of you have seen this one too. It was taken before I got here... (yup, I've been borrowing pics from others) This is the Crocker's truck on the way to Church in the village. Sometimes the puddles get a little deep.
A friend of mine has this great picture on their computer of them crossing the river to get to the village...they had to tie a rope across first so that they'd have something to hang onto!!!
But, now it's heading into dry season.... I haven't seen a puddle in forever!

Sunday, December 05, 2004


Originally uploaded by L. Bo.
Well, I wish I could say I took this one... I plan on blowing it up when I get home. This was taken down at the Lome beach, fishing boat waiting for morning. The beach (from a distance) is so cool to see, the fishing boats all lined up, men sitting repairing their nets, women doing their laundry, kids splashing in the waves. The palm trees line the beach... it's like a postcard come to life. lol, untill you look closely. When you go swimming, you have to dodge the palastic bags that are floating in the waves, and watch your step! Lot's of people use the main beach as a public toliet!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

togo tata

togo tata
Originally uploaded by L. Bo.
Remember a waaaaay back when I was going to Church with the Crocker family up North.. crazy mountain passes and all that jazz??? Well, this is a really bad picture of a Tata... I don't have one of the front of the house... well, I do, but it's not on the digital camera... sorry, you'll just have to wait to see the whole thing :)

Kara Mountain

Kara Mountain 2004 (2)
Originally uploaded by L. Bo.
This is a view from partway up the Kara mountain... the who valley is Kara (the town where I am working). It's like a bowl surrounded by the mountains...

more pics

Originally uploaded by L. Bo.
This photo was taken from the top of the water tower at the centre, this is what lies behind the centre. The mosque thankfully wasn't allowed to set up their loudspeakers, so while I was living on centre I wasn't woken up very often... except on occasion by their "elephant"... Where I'm living now there's a fairly large Mosque, with an extremly loud P.A. system.... I don't need a clock to wake up in the morning... *sigh* I wish I did...

behind bars...

Hey Ninjas,
I had the opportunity to visit the prison yesterday with Lynn. This is the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.. Lynn has been doing prison ministry here in Kara for a number of years. Originally she started her visiting with a Catholic mission, then as she became more well know with the guards and officials, she began her own work there. She brought in a pastor and they would preach and do counseling… Then the prison officials closed down the building to all visitors and mission activities… Lynn came up with the idea to have a medical clinic there!

Lynn approached him with the idea of a clinic and he said yes, but no preaching… Lynn said no. But the guard knew they really did need someone to come in and give some attention to the medical needs, so he eventually gave in.
Now Lynn and a few others go in once a week, and provide care… They don’t do it for free, the cost of a consultation and medication is one memorized bible verse. We stayed for 2 hours and saw 60 people, Suzanne and Lynn treated everything from earaches and Malaria to Eye infections and abrasions.
Emotionally it was a wearing day!
Pray for Lynn and her ministry there… she shows the Jesus video each week, goes in to provide councelling, provideds food for those who don’t have relatives to provide for them, brings clothes for people as their old clothes wear out, each Christmas throws a “banquet” for all the prisoners, and ensures that EVERY inmate has a sleeping mat. Did I mention that she’s a grandmother???
If you want I can give you some contact information to reach her, I’m sure that she’d love to know if you are praying for her… email me and I’ll send it to you :)
Things you can pray for- Continued relationships with those in charge, safety (this is a prison!) medical supplies, and opportunities to serve….

I met someone who will be on the same (first) flight with me on the way home! Lydia works in Ethiopia and has been here at the SIL centre doing some training for the past two weeks. It’s nice to have a traveling companion!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

first sight?

Kara Mountain 2004 (13)

yup, attempt # 100 000 002

this should be a picture of my neighbour's house... if its not... you're all going to have to wait until I get home to see some pictures... if it is..... I'll post a few more :)


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, November 29, 2004

cough cough

I woke up sneezing, and now I’m going to bed dry throated, scratchy, dusty, smokey.
The fields are on fire.
Today we went to the pool (there’s one in all of Kara) before we got in, the lifeguard grabbed his skimmer to get the biggest of the ashes out of the pool. Its VERY strange to swim with drifting ashes.
People have started to burn their fields. Most of the crops have been harvested, and as they are finished… they are set to flame. It’s “just the way it’s done”. Tonight I had to walk along a path through a field that was on fire.
I guess these are controlled fires… on purpose anyway. And sometimes there’s someone watching as it burns to see that it doesn’t go past where it should go. Not that there’s much that can be done if the fire decides it’s own path. (read back about the Kara Fire Department… big building, no trucks). I was told that one of the most beautiful sights to watch… though scary too… is the mountain on fire. The base of the mountain is maybe a ten min walk from the centre… The only problem is that Harmatan has come in so thickly I can’t see the mountain anymore! Visibility is pretty much nil. Today was the first day that I couldn’t even see the outline of it. Yesterday it was a looming shadow with it’s own halo… the dust was reflecting the sunset… very cool.

With the dust and the smoke comes the most incredible dryness… I can write my name on my legs with my fingernail…. and that’s after using lotion! I set my laundry out to dry on Saturday. It was all dry in an hour and a half! Ok, true enough it was covered in enough dust that it looked like I’d left it in an abandoned building for the last century… but it was dry!
I now have to dust off my chair and desk each morning when I go into the school room (and yes, I’ve closed the windows for the night) I also have to dust them when I come back into the room after coffee break and lunch… I’m only gone for ½ an hour… but it’s enough to collect dust! I’ll try to get some pictures of it… but I don’t know that the camera will do it justice!

Friday, November 26, 2004

down south... way down

American Thanksgiving in Togo…. need I say more? oh yes, yes I do…. but let it be only this…

“This land is your land
This land is my land…
From California to the New York Island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream Waters….”


I thought the words were

“From Bonn Vista to Vancouver Island
From the Artic Circle to the Great Lake Waters….”

Yes, Southern Baptist (I’m talkin’ Texas Southrin’ Twang and Drawl and pack horses)

The other day I stretched my wings of independence and showed the world just how bad my French REALLY is.
I went into the market on my own.
Now, I think I could have been doing that since the beginning, but it’s just so easy to rely on those around you and not have to think for yourself… Anyway, I’ve got my own “friends” in the market. Those who know that I have no idea about what’s going on, and they don’t make too much fun of me, they appreciate the trying.
There’s MY peanut lady… she roasts peanuts and cashews and candies peanuts…. mmmm (I like her!) ok, my first day in Togo I went to coffee break and looked at the table… and looked again… and looked again… it had a row of wine bottles and gin bottles. Here in Togo they are all recycled to hold nuts! I think when I go home I’ll have to start siphoning my peanuts into bottles… it’s so satisfying shaking a handful out! Try it out.
I’ve got MY own apple lady now (I just got her that day… or rather she got me! She saw me walking towards the market and she came running over and told me she had something to show me…) EVERYONE has the same stuff in the market, but you don’t really want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so you sort of spread your shopping around… It’s really about who’s friend you are… not about weather or not they have what you need, because if you need it and they don’t have it, they’ll find it for you and be sure to have it the next time you’re there…
I’ve got MY own Vegetable lady.. and she knows what veggies I like, so she starts piling them up before I say anything. Then there’s the fruit stand lady and her trainees… she runs the show, and sends them scurrying around. She has the best mangos and pineapples… and she has eggs too… and I’m usually convinced to buy two or three other things that I didn’t need there… the part that I love the best is that then they carry everything for you to your car… on their heads while dodging the motos (motorcycles/mopeds) and cars and pedestrians… I love it.
So I went to the market with a small list of what I needed to buy… I came back with three times what I needed… I was having too much fun.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ripple Effect

I don’t really know how much has been on the news about what’s going on/ what’s happened in the Ivory Coast over in Canada. There hasn’t been much here by way of news… wait, that’s not fair for me to say… I don’t listen to the news because I have NO CLUE what they are saying! But from what I gather from people who DO listen to the news there hasn’t been that much.
Really it’s not that far away from here, so there is the ripple effect happening. Don’t worry, the political situation is “fine” and I’m totally safe. More what I mean would be the people that I know, or that are well known to people here who are being deeply effected.
Take for example the Crockers. I’ve mentioned them a few times, they are an amazing family. They just so happened to be in Abidjan when everything fell apart. They happened to be in one of the central neighbourhoods on the Saturday night when things went really bad. They could hear the riots just a few hundred feet from their compound… to hear their stories made me cry. . They were evacuated, but before they were, they were right in the middle of the riots. So now, as they are dealing with the debriefing issues, and as their family adjusts to a new life (life AFTER being in the middle of a neighborhood with bombs and guns and raping and looting) it effects everyone around them as we learn to be sensitive to their needs. Especially with the children that are involved. For awhile their teacher thought that maybe she wouldn’t stay to keep teaching (she was in Abidjan with them). But praise God, she returned to Kara yesterday and said she was staying, she’ll start back up teaching a week from now. (I’ve got some extra children in my class for now!)
Another family that I’ve met here was evacuated for the second time in their missions carrier…
Dozens of Missionaries have moved into Togo and other nearby countries as they wait to go back to their homes and friends. Some wait to see what’s left to go back to. Today we heard that some mission boards have decided to send their people back into the country! Pray that they would be safe!
Other than that, things are awesome here... except that the mountain dissapeared today :(
Harmatan is on full force!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Back to "Normal Life"

Ok, Again, Sorry for the delay… I guess that’s just a part of life here. Our phone lines are iffy at the best of times…

Let’s see, what can I tell you today?
Well, I moved this weekend! I’m now living about a 15 min walk from the SIL center in a funny little compound (you have to go outside to reach the kitchen) with Barb. So far, so good! Although today I realized that maybe I had it better living at the centre… school was finished early, but I wasn’t ready to go home and sit and do nothing. At the centre there’s always people around to visit with, or I could retreat to my room for a few hours then pep out and see if there was anything interesting going on… Now if I leave the centre and then return, people ask me if I’ve forgotten something. :S
Not so sure about this set-up but the company IS comfortable, and it’s nice to have the excuse to leave the bubble.

ok, some stories from Ghana…

Does anyone other than my sister and I watch Lonely planet? (great show!) I think it’s called Pilot Guides now, and both Bethy-B and myself (at one time or another) have set our hearts on marrying one of the hosts- Ian. ANYWAY
I saw one episode about Ghana during my “all I want to do in this world is go to Ghana” stage (unfortunately, NOT hosted by Ian) and in it they were looking at some crazy coffins that were being made at the coast. So, I’m on my way to a funeral with my host family (yes, another interesting cultural experience, another story another day) and I’m just about to open my mouth to ask “hey, where about’s would I see some of those interesting coffins?” and instead I squawk… (Like in Haroun and the Sea of Stories, when Rashid finds he can tell stories anymore) “awk” Says I. Because as my mouth is trying to form the aforementioned question, we drive past what looks like a carousel animal warehouse … but the sign reads “quality resting places, woodworkers, coffin makers”. (or something along that line… I was so surprised I couldn’t quite make out the words)
Yeah, no joke, these are coffins made to represent the life of the dead person in them. A few days later I went to one of the carpenter’s shops to see them being made. It was really neat, so much work… just for something that was going to be buried! If you were a farmer, you could be buried in an ear of corn, an onion, okra, tomato A CHICKEN!!!…. You own taxis? Choose to be buried in a car… A king/prince… a lion coffin… a carpenter? A wood planer. A pilot? an airplane. An animist Priest? A cobra…. fisherman? A fish, lobster or crab. There were coke bottles, beer bottles, a turkey, a red pepper… I saw SO many different types, but my favourite had to be the Nokia Phone, when you opened it up, it had stitched into the lining “check your messages”. In the workshop they were busy working on one that was a castle…. so much work! They were hand carving the brick detail into the walls!

Ghana had this one really neat thing that I think I might start up when I get back to Canada… So, in Canada, we go window shopping. We go from store to store, just looking to see if we are interested in what they have… sometimes, we really just look in the window… When you are sitting in traffic in Accra, shopping comes to your window! People spend a lot of their time in traffic…. I think I spent about 16 hours of my two weeks sitting in traffic. That would be a fairly conservative number. While you are stuck in place, there are people weaving in and out of the cars, selling everything from gum to toilet paper! You can buy freshly roasted plantain/plantain chips or shish kabobs, a new antenna for your vehicle, a calculator or a puppy/kitten. (My hosts informed me that cat tastes a lot like goat). It’s all very handy!
School is going well, I’m feeling a little more like a teacher… slightly more organized, although life is a little chaotic with four extra families on centre (not many of the kids WANT to concentrate!)
Pray for the many activities happening this month on centre, there’s a bunch of big meetings and conferences/training and consulting stuff going on, many people are coming and going, pray for safety and that much would be accomplished!
PRAISE GOD!!!! The Crocker family (the family that I often go to village church with) is safely back in Togo! They were in The Ivory Coast for training all this month, but were evacuated on Thursday. They had to spend the last week or two staying in their compound due to the situation… no one was allowed to go out. They were airlifted out (with a 10 minute warning) by the German air force. The kids were pretty happy because they didn’t have time to pack their school books… unfortunately for them, the next group of people to be airlifted out had time to pack their books for them… So they are safe and sound and going through some debriefing stuff along with others who were evacuated….
Pray for safety for those who may still be there…. and that the situation would die down soon.
Praise God I’ve finally gotten my Togo Visa… I guess I’ll be allowed to leave the country. It is a two year visa… The Friesen’s are really hoping that I’ll come back (no longer are they using subtle hints)
Pray that God would lead in this area, and that they would be able to find a teacher sometime soon…
ok, enough.
love you miss you, email me!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

ET Phone Home?

I thought it was about time to get something posted here! I’ve been internet deprived... and therefore, deprived of keeping in touch!!! AHHHHH! I miss you all!
Quite a few exclamation marks don’t you think Les?
Yup, but it’s to emphasize how much I miss the people I love!!! Keep those emails coming!!!! Better yet!!! I’ve still got a mailing address: (hint hint!)

BP 57
Kara, Togo
West Africa

So Monday, I was sitting minding my own business, when out of the air dropped a package onto my lap. I GOT MAIL! I got a whole stack of mail from Miss. Lauren Webster’s class @ Wallaceburg Christian School! I’ve got to be one of the luckiest people ever, I have a whole classroom of people praying for me over here :) (Thanks Laur, it meant a lot).

Yes, I’m still alive, I survived going to Ghana, although there were several obstacles to get there (see last post) God is good, and we arrived in one piece. We decided to cross the border in Lome (Togo) into Aflao (Ghana) WHOA BABY! Crazy experience, and due to missing one vital piece of car information… mighty expensive. The number of people crossing the border… all on foot (ah ha, they knew it was pointless to bring the vehicle through!) *shaking my head * it was something to see… Waiting in the customs office “hillsongs” came on the radio… ENGLISH!!!! It was a nice change, that’s for sure.

The road to Accra was under construction; the trip there reminded me of playing a Nintendo car racing game, all the cars going wherever they could! Later someone told me that if you ask a Ghanaian what side of the road they drive on, they’d reply “the better side”. A number of times in Ghana we had to drive in the ditch as the oncoming traffic took over all lanes of the road… I never knew that a two-lane road could hold five lanes of traffic!

I was able to hook up with Joseph Aryee (from Ghana Youth For Christ), and he found me a place to stay with the Darmani family. I spent the two weeks traveling around visiting some of the different programs run by Ghana YFC. Funny thing…. Whenever I went to observe the programs (oh, let’s say a school program or whatever..) For some reason people expected that I was coming with a full teaching program! On our way to one school group the leader turned to me, (RIGHT after we had just discussed with Joseph that I had just come to watch) and said, “well, you’ll only have to speak for a little bit.” I looked at him and asked… “um, how much is a little bit?” (I HATE public speaking! And, I’m NOT a pastor!) He replied “oh, no less then twenty minutes”. Gee!

I spent much of my time being a tourist, and being stuck in traffic! OK, funniest thing ever! So, you spend most of your day stuck in traffic (how do people get to work on time?) what happens when you get hungry? What if you don’t have time to pick up a few things on your way home from work? No Problem! Roll down your window and start shopping! People are walking in and out of traffic; selling everything from toilet paper and watches to chocolate and giant snails…
I had the opportunity to go watch drums being made, I visited the Cape Coast Castle (one of the sites where the slave trade happened) and even got to go on the canopy walk in the rain forest!

I saw so many things… and met so many people… I feel bad trying to summarize a two week trip’s adventures in two pages… SO just remember to ask me lots of questions about it when I get home.

One thing that I can say is that God is amazing… It’s not often that we have the opportunity to find out why He answers some prayers the way that he does… A few years ago I applied to go to Ghana for a program through my university. I was SO devastated when I didn’t get into the program (my room mates can attest to that!). I couldn’t understand WHY I couldn’t go, I thought that was where God was calling me and the opportunity was totally shut down. Then a team from NYFC went to Ghana as a work team (they did some construction at the yfc centre), things weren’t going to work out so that I could go…. Again, I was confused! I was ready, I was willing, I was able… why was I still in Canada? A year later I had the opportunity to go and work in Uganda with Watoto… I fell in love with the children, with the people, with the village life/culture… Then I was blessed enough to come and work here in Togo, and though the language barrier has been really rough, again, the people, the life.. all of it, I LOVE. While I was visiting in Accra I realized how it was totally God’s plan… If my first exposure to Africa had been through that GIANT crazy city… I wouldn’t have the love I have for this place now…

Looks like I’m moving off the SIL centre on the weekend, I’ll be moving in with another missionary, her room mate just left for the States for a few years, so she’s got an empty room! Her name is Barb, pray that I don’t drive her too crazy ;)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Grrrr Wa-Wa

So today someone told me a common saying amongst ex-pats here in Togo “wa wa” “West Africa Wins Again”! What a frustrating day!
I was to go and get my Ghanaian visa today, so I went with Emile to the embassy. We took my passport, (which I’d not seen since I arrived) and went in… now, let me back up… One set of pictures was lost already for my visa, one set arrived late, then the person responsible for getting BOTH my Togolese Visa and my Ghanaian Visa has fallen ill… This all should have happened well before we got to Lome… whatever though…
SO currently my paperwork is under way to get a 2-year visa for Togo. No, I’m not planning on being here for two years, it’s free for a two year visa, OR I need to come down in person once every three weeks –not a month, 3 weeks- and pay approx $40 US each time I renew it. Until the time I get that visa, my passport is suppose to stay here in Lome and I’ve been carrying my “official” photocopy of my passport, stamped and signed by the administrator. LOL, dude, you can’t photocopy a passport and have the picture turn out… I’m this huge Black smudge! ANYWAY !! So I go with my passport to get my GHANA visa, and the lady at the office is laughing at my forms… I filled them out the night I arrived in Togo, and was a little jet-lagged, I forgot some pretty vital info, was a little dyslexic in places and generally made a mess of the forms… So after I’ve re-written the forms, I’m send with Emile to sit in the waiting room, we wait an hour, then the lady calls me back and says “I’m sorry I can’t process your visa, your Togolese Visa has expired”. How could something I don’t have expire????
SO we need to go and get at least one month’s visa so that I can be covered to go out of Togo, then come back into Togo… more pictures taken, then we get to the embassy. We walk to the gate and about to enter… and they wouldn’t let Emile in!!!! So we try to explain to the guards that I need Emile as my interpreter (cause my French is still BAD!!!) and the guard pushes me through the gate and points to one of the buildings. So I go on, I walk in and there’s this room filled with people sitting benches, or standing beside a table filling out visa forms. There’s a hallway out one back corner, and a glass door in the other. I stand in the middle of the room (WHICH has NO signs!) until someone takes pity on me and points around the corner down the hallway. I walk around the corner and there are three closed doors! So I stand in the hallway until another person takes pity on me and points me to an unmarked door. I walk in and the room is filled with people in line; there are five officials behind their desks… I pick a line and wait. And of course, NO ONE in the room speaks English, and I’m just this dumb Canadian with a French name! An official takes my passport and looks at it, he laughs, shows his friend beside him… he laughs, they speak a mixture of French and something else to another guy, he laughs, then the guy leaves with my passport! So I sit and wait some more. Eventually he comes back with some papers, he shows them to other people and they laugh, and then he hands them to me… Where is my passport? Then He’s talking to me about leaving the building, but I really have no idea what’s being said to me, so the first white person I see I grab and ask them if they speak English… thankfully they do (a little) and I’m told I need to go to the first building and to the “white wall”… uh huh? Ok, the white wall…
So I ask the official to show me where I need to go, and he takes me down some random unmarked passageway to a white wall with a mail slot in it… BUT there is a real person sitting behind the mail slot, and he’s demanding payment… THEN I look at the paper I’ve been handed…. I’m being charged for living illegally in Togo without a visa!!! Grrrrr! Then I see that it’s for more money than what I’ve brought with me and that’s not counting the price of the visa! Then another official comes and starts speaking sharply to me… I have no clue what’s going on… and I have a melt down… so now, I’m a silly white girl, with a French name, who can’t speak French, crying in the middle of a busy hallway because a wall is yelling at me! “My official” finally says “ok, bring friend” so he brings me back out to the gate and Emile is allowed to come in, but first HE yells at the official because they are charging me for no reason!! Then when we get inside there’s some big argument over why I have to pay, and * rolling my eyes* we pay up because there’s no way out.
SO now my passport is at the Togo embassy again, and prayerfully I’ll have it and my visa back tomorrow morning… Then we’ll have to wait till Monday for the Ghanaian visa…. So we’ll be heading across the border some day!
I think we are going to the beach tomorrow to watch the whales, some people we know saw them today while they were at the beach. Part of a migration route?
Praise God for a productive day… For a beautiful, cooler evening… Our safe passage down to Lome (We passed the President’s guards-they were heading North to the pres. House.. he flies, they drive… heavily armed trucks, men with machine guns and rifles all standing around in front of the “fan milk” store… it’s the yogurt store.) And Praise for the safe return of Marv to his family, his plane arrived last night.
Pray that everything else works out! That our border crossing is uneventful, and that The Freisen family would get an opportunity to be rested while they head to the conference together.

Ghana we Go

Well, Praise God, I heard from my contacts in Ghana, and it looks like I’ll be spending some time there in the next two weeks volunteering with YFC (Youth For Christ) West Africa! I don’t know what that means in terms of my email connection, so you might not hear from me for a little while :( That also means I can’t hear from you!!! :,( but please keep sending emails, I will eventually be able to respond!
Oh yeah…
Right now We (being me and the Friesen family) are still waiting to hear if the Friesens have accommodations in Accra (the Capital City of Ghana) if everything works out; then I’ll be going to the YFC guest house on the 25th or 26th and staying through until the 5th of November. If they can’t find accommodations then I won’t be going until November 1st. Anyway, I know that’s all rather confusing. I hope that they have accommodations, because otherwise we’ll be staying in Lome (Togo)… and I’m not so interested in being there. ;)
Last week I went to put something in the freezer in the Kitchenette (There are two kitchenettes shared between the 26 rooms at the Centre) for some reason the shelves were full… and that didn’t make any sense to me because I KNEW I was the only person staying on that side of the centre… I opened up the bag to see what was inside… it was a goat’s head. ‘Cuz you know.. I like to keep a goat’s head in my freezer just in case of company? I guess someone forgot to take their leftovers home with them. I guess I missed the feast, turns out that I’m two months late for termite season too!
Harmatan just rolled in this week! There are two seasons in the northern part of Togo, there’s wet/rainy season or there’s the dry/dust season. No, not the “dusty” season, the DUST season. Kara, the town that I live in, and the area around it; is surrounded by mountains… not huge ones, but it’s like living in the bottom of a bowl. During the dry season, the dust (sand from the Sahara desert) blows over the mountain range and gets stuck in the bowl… a giant cloud of dust. Yesterday the wind picked up and the mountains to the south and the west DISSAPEARED! It’s like fog… but dirty… The kids said that soon we won’t be able to see the mountain directly behind the house.. I can’t even imagine it.. but then again I couldn’t imagine what I’ve already seen! Tonight the sunset is yellow.

I went out to one of the villages for church again on the weekend, I went with the Crocker Family (the church planters) To visit a church that they had planted last year before rainy season started. At first they were going to move the church to a slightly bigger village a few miles away, but then when the rains came they weren’t able to follow through with it. The roads got washed out and they couldn’t go back to check on how the church was doing until just last week. When John got to the village he asked the pastor there if they were still meeting in the same place, the pastor said yes. Then John asked if they wanted to move the church to the other village and the pastor said “we don’t need too, we planted a church there and it’s growing”.

On our way there we passed through a village getting ready for their market day… up to 15kms away we saw people carrying things to market… a STREAM of women going down the road, each with baskets piled to overflowing on their heads, their children tagging along beside them even the smallest had something to carry in their own basket. By the time we left church (we ended up staying quite awhile!) The women were trickling back out of the village into the countryside, nearly all their baskets were empty, and the children carried all the things their mommas had bought. It was very cute!

We ended up being at that church forever! We got there and did a communion service, with a loaf of bread and Coke (juice is expensive, so our other choice was millet beer or water) There was tons of dancing and singing. After the communion service we had a baptism service, there were 5 people who had been waiting for Pastor John to come back to baptize them.. we all trucked down to the nearest river and found a clear spot. The water was really shallow, so the people getting baptized sat in the water to get dunked… There was this little bridge over the water where some of us sat to watch… and where I was going to sit were these strange squashed berry things… I flicked them off without thinking… as soon as I sat down and looked at the tree above me I realized what they were… giant fruit bat droppings! YUCK

After the baptism the church invited us to a special lunch they had prepared for us, we had Pot and sauce… Pot is a lot like Ugandan Posho (Julie, your FAVORITE!) sort of like Italian Polenta… it’s made from corn meal, but more finely ground, and you eat it by the PILE… and it’s so heavy… kinda bland tasting on it’s own, but they add some hot peppers and other stuff to it, so it’s bland with a hot after-burn! Sauce is just anything cooked with water… we were fortunate enough that it was chicken!!!! I wasn’t so much looking forward to fish heads in water… though I’ve promised to be committed to culture and try not to grimace too much as I take it down. Yeah, so we had a great meal, no need for our packed lunch at all!

So tomorrow (Thursday) we are heading down to Lome, pray for safety on the roads.. it’s a 7+ hour drive depending on the road conditions… the mountain pass to get back down to Lome is WAY worse than the Northern one that we pass over to get to the village churches, there’s much more traffic too…. Pray that all the details of the trip get worked out soon, and that there are no problems crossing the boarder! Marv is flying back tonight, he should be here tomorrow night so long as none of the flights are delayed.
More later…

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Je Suis Desole Pour Mon Courgette

Hello, my name is Blanche… lol, I went to pick up some pictures I had taken for my Ghanaian Visa, and the name on the outside of the envelope was “Blanche”. I’m hoping to spend some time visiting with the Ghana YFC people while the Friesen family is on vacation… right now the details are kinda sketchy, but if it falls through I’ll be going to (North West) Benin instead to stay in an Anii Village with a family who do oral narrative translations, they are going through the bible in chronological order, starting with Genesis and sharing the bible stories with a people group who hold oral tradition way above anything written… geee… I don’t know what to pray for to happen! Both options are pretty good to me!

Sorry that the last message got posted twice…. Sometimes I can email my messages in, sometimes I can’t… I guess the program was just being really helpful to make up for the lost messages!

I got to go to the market on Tuesday! Dude, I love the market. Market is always open, but there are certain days when EVERYONE is at the market, all the vendors in town come together, and their families… oh heck… the whole town is there, and if you’ve got anything you can sell it there. Just put it in a basket on your head and you are in business! lol. I can’t remember if I’ve written anything about the market yet, if I’m repeating myself, sorry, I write off line to save my phone units (internet time) so I can’t go back and check what I’ve written and to whom!
This market is partly indoors, mostly outdoors. The inside part runs all the time, it’s mostly fruits and veggies and meat in there… The tables are really close together and everyone is selling pretty much the same thing, you find someone friendly and they become “your” vendor, they watch for you and send their children to greet you the second your feet enter the building, they show you all the new things they have… making sure to mention that you won’t ever get it anywhere else… ;) I almost fell into the drainage pit the first time I went there… it’s just randomly in the middle of the building; full of green slime… and it’s moving… alive with bugs and bacteria…. *shudder * . It’s right beside “MY” fruit and veggie lady, and I didn’t see it because I was so overwhelmed the first time I went in.. Too much to see, too few eyes to see it with.
There is an upstairs to the market building; I didn’t even notice it the first two times I was there! I went this week; it has all household stuff, and plastics and fabrics. I bought a new pair of flip-flops for 350 cfa (my sandals couldn’t take the walking, they gave up in two weeks!) That’s around 72 cents American. However, I also bought 6 bananas, 4 tangerines, a giant fruit that I don’t know the name of but have become hopelessly addicted to, and a zucchini for 400cfa- I still haven’t really figured out the money. Things that I think should cost more cost way less… but then things that I think should be cheep are SO expensive! 750cfa for a single serving of yoghurt.. hmmm, but it sure is good yoghurt, I’ll keep paying the price.
We toured the whole market this week, it was the first time we’d been able to do it. There was so much to see in the outside stalls! There was the pottery section, the soap section (they make some crazy soap!) The “pharmacy” section where you can buy a bottle of pills (unmarked) or just two or three pills… pre-wrapped in saran-wrap! I guess you have to just hope that you remember the right colours! ~ Or you can go to the real pharmacy, you don’t need a prescription for anything, just say the name of what you want to buy and they’ve got it, or they’ll have it in an hour! And yes, these are manufacturers labels on the packages… a little safer; just watch the expiry date! There was the “restaurant” section … a bunch of ladies with fires and charcoal stoves boiling and frying and roasting all sorts of yummy smelling things, and then there was the Animism/witchcraft section, it was in a side ally off of the rest of the market, but it was really busy there too. You could buy anything from a monkey’s head to dried mushrooms, powdered bones to witchcraft seashells there was so much, as we walked through, Edith leaned over to me and said, “I just whisper the name of Jesus when I have to walk through here”.
So I bought myself a lovely Zucchini at the market… I was so happy to find one, it was nice and solid, and wasn’t dented, didn’t sound hollow.. it was good. I left it in the cupboard for an hour before putting it in the eau de javel (yeah, make sure all veggies and fruits soak in a little javex before you eat them!) And when I picked it up, it had turned into a mushy mess! I could feel little pathways running under it’s skin, something was inside and had eaten it before I could!!! So sad for my zucchini. I had really been looking forward to eating it....

You know those giant plastic bugs that you can find at the dollar store? About the size of your hand… I found one here two nights ago… but it wasn’t of the plastic variety… it buzzed around crashing into the building. Needless to say I only went outside when absolutely necessary. Tonight when I was walking over to the main building I think I may have stepped on one in the grass... normally I stick to the path, but I was trying to scare some of the really noisey bugs into quietness... it's been SO loud this week!

This morning I go up early and hiked partway up the mountain… it was beautiful… the sun was just coming out, it was actually cool enough that everyone was out working in their gardens on the side of the mountain… the terraces are very neat… these people work so hard… And the land is so unforgiving! People spend hours in backbreaking work... and the ground is filled with rocks... I am blown away by the people daily.

We are heading up to Tammariland Again for Church tomorrow, There’s a small church that was planted there that the Crockers helped to plant last year during dry season… during the wet season there was no way to get there (rivers got too big, mud holes too wide) And John (Crocker) thought that the church must have stopped meeting.. He went to visit sometime last week and the roads have cleared, he found that the church had grown so much that they had gone ahead and done a church plant of their own in the next village! We are going up for a baptism service in the morning… pray for us as we head through that mountain pass again!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Round the Mountain we must go, OR, Under the Mango Tree

I think I was suppose to write about the trip up from Lome in this post, but then I went to church up North, and I’ve decided I’d rather tell you all about that. Besides, The trip up from Lome was mostly stories about the mountain pass that we travelled, and we had more mountains to travel over to get to church last Sunday.

Grab something to drink and settle in, this will be a long post!

Marv’s mom passed away last Saturday night. He was able to be there with his family, so that’s really good; He should be coming back to Togo next weekend (the 23rd?). I know the whole family will be glad to have him back; it’s been rough on all of them.
Edith came and told me on Sunday morning that she and the kids wouldn’t be going to church that morning (they were pretty upset from the news), so our previous plans for church on the mountain were going to be put on hold. Dave, the missionary that took Lisa and I out to the village last week, is quite involved in a church at the top of the mountain, and we were going to hike up as a group. Rather than go up on my own with Dave, I went to church with the Crocker family. The Crocker’s are Southern Baptist missionaries who are involved with some pretty serious church planting initiatives. God has really opened up some amazing doors for John and Susana and their 4 kids. SOOOO…. North we went, wow. Really, I can’t even begin to describe what this place looks like, the mountains… the villages, the people… life happening everywhere. I just hope that my pictures will do it some justice.

We drove for about an hour until we reached a point where we had to cross the mountains, (out of the bowl!) The cliffs on either side of us… we had to pull over once because a truck had passed so close and so fast it had knocked the chairs (tied to the roof rack) off balance. … Then came the part where we started to come DOWN the mountain.

Oh, better let you know about the traffic signals… turn your right blinker on if it’s not safe to pass, turn your left one on if it is… and if there’s clumps of dirt or branches on the road spaced evenly and slowly pushing you into the oncoming traffic, it means either there’s a broken truck around that blind corner/rise in front of you… or a wreck, and usually you can tell from the colour of the smoke. Wrecks happen CONSTANTLY; people overload their already dilapidated trucks WELL beyond the point of safe, seriously, I’m talking transport trucks loaded, then a second full load tied to the top… and not tied well. Anytime we take the main road out of town there’s a truck on it’s side, it’s load spilled and a crowd gathering trying to salvage the load. And that’s on the flat part of the road! On the mountain passes there’ll be part of a truck at the side of the road… the other part has fallen over the edge. Parts of the pass ride along the side of a rock face, this is BLACK from smoke, trucks and other unlucky vehicles that have crashed into it. And this is the two-lane section!!!!!!

Ok, down the mountain we must go, but first there’s this sign. Roughly translated it says “stop, look before you descend, 10% grade, drive slowly, sharp turn” THEN it had a picture of a truck out of control going down a hill, with the 10% under the truck and at the bottom of the hill a skull and crossbones! AS IF!

Along the road all the way down were chunks of trucks, too big to tow away, or too damaged to be of any use. We passed a slight turn in the road to the left (the road was pretty narrow at this point, edge of the cliff to the left, rock face to the right) and there were scars in the rock from cars and trucks bouncing off the rock and going around the corner. I thought, “well, that’s not too bad; the sign made it out to be way worse” THEN the road got really steep, and took a sharp turn again to the left. I remember looking at the rock-face, and the ground directly below it and thinking “whoa, there’s been a lot of accidents here… Thank you Jesus we made it down safely”. The corner was LITTERED with glass and scrap metal. We made it to the bottom of the mountain and drove out to the village for church. Susana said that there are accidents there all the time because so few people are able to maintain their vehicles and everyone is so overloaded.

On our way back from church we noticed a dark column of smoke near the mountain. As we got closer we saw that there were lines of trucks parked to the side of the road, and then saw where the smoke was coming from. We started off on a different route home. The road was closed for 7 hours to truck traffic; it was opened after 4 hours for small cars. Two ladies that were visiting the centre said they were some of the first through the pass, a tanker truck containing fuel had hit the corner at full speed, it’s brakes had failed, several people were killed with the explosion, they couldn’t be pulled from the fire. They said that when they were allowed to pass, the truck was still on fire, and they had to drive quickly because the pavement was so hot they were afraid the tires might melt.

The Togo Fire Department is only about 25 minutes from that spot, it’s built near the 2nd international airport.. not the one I came in at. No fire trucks came to the crash because there’s no money to buy any. I guess the fire chief sits in his new building during office hours and stares out at the empty truck bays… there’s room for 8 trucks.

We had a choice of two routes home; the first included a bridge that had been closed for the past two years… no one had heard if it was open yet, and the second included a one lane mountain pass… you go up or down, if you encounter someone coming from the other direction, the smaller vehicle goes backwards in the direction it came from. We decided we’d try the bridge. Thankfully it was all repaired, John said as we were getting near that if it looked “kinda” safe, we could all get out and walk across and he’d gun it across in the land rover…Thankfully it was a whole new bridge, so there wasn’t any racing. One hour and forty five mins to church… four and a half hours home.

OK, so that was all awesome, I loved seeing the countryside, watching the people, seeing the differences in the villages as we travelled from one area to another, but church was defiantly the highlight. We had church in a Ditammari village, under a giant mango tree! It was great, we sat in the roots of the tree, there was a nice breeze, people walked by, saw what was going on, some joined in… it was VERY cool. We started with 20 people and ended up with about 35.
True enough, I don’t have the foggiest idea what the sermon was about, and I didn’t know any of the songs… John spoke in French, (I think it might have been about being saved by grace.. not by works…. But yeah, my French is still lacking) and a Tammari man translated. But, it was neat, really neat. The Ditammari are probably the poorest people group in Togo, but they are also the most easily identified because of their homes, called Tatas… When you go to look up info on Togo, there’s usually a picture of one. It’s like a little castle made of mud! With turrets and everything! They are the only people group who make a two-story home.
I guess they started to build them like that because they were often targeted to be caught as slaves; The Ditammari are the smallest in stature in the area. By building their tatas with the high thick walls, it’s more difficult for intruders. They started to build their homes closer and closer together (round huts) then started to build walls between them, these developed into what they are today. They bring their livestock in at night to the main floor, and they sleep in the second part, this way the livestock can act as an alarm system too! The doorways are really narrow (to make it difficult for intruders) and there are small holes out the sides of the building on the top floor for arrows to be shot through. They sill have the central courtyard area, but it’s in front of the tata instead of inside. Until I can spend some real time online to get my photos on here, you’ll have to use your imagination as to what I mean. :)
Ok I could write another two pages worth of stuff from the village, on Idols and Fetishes and Family alters… The grain silos on top of the houses, The meat drying racks, the jewellery…. *sigh * but you’d stop reading because this is already long enough.
Meh Neh Ta Na, (Hey everyone, how’s it going?)
Meh Na Kay (it’s going great [with us])
Alafia (good!)
Deh Behng (see you later)
Ok, I don’t know how to type using the International Phonetic Alphabet on this computer, so just sound it out…. (I started Kabye lessons today)
Write me emails I miss youLes

Saturday, October 09, 2004

a maizeing

Where to start?
So I was going to talk about the trip up from Lome… but that will come later. I’ve just had the opportunity to escape the bubble that is the Kara Centre, and I am particularly excited about the adventure.
Whoa, Les… Kara Centre?
Right, the Centre in Kara where I live is run by SIL and is a wonderful place, amazing and intelligent people wandering in and out all the time, working on incredible projects, everything from dictionaries to oral narratives, direct language translations to literacy training, phonemes, syntax, tones … and anything else along the way…. A Linguistic Anthropologist’s dream centre. It is however, a bubble. You can live here and never interact with Africa if you never leave it’s walls. But that’s ok, because it was never intended for anyone to live here full time, it’s a guest house, people are suppost to come and go. There’s even a rule about the length of time one is allowed to live on centre (not including the people who are the “centre managers”-those keeping the place going- those being the people who I’ve come here to help with schooling!). That said, pray with me as I decide when and where to move… The details are REALLY up in the air- I am here for a short enough time that I could live here… but I don’t think it would be good for me.
Bubble burst, where’d you go?
Today I went with one of the kids (Lisa) and a missionary named Dave (who is doing some project on compiling data about tones in the Kabiye language…) To help Dave’s gardener (Bleze) bring his maize crop into town. More and more families have sent the younger generations down from their homes into the towns to work, but the families still work together to support eachother. So we set out to pick up Bleze, we found him and two of his friends? (I don’t know who they were… maybe related? My French is so bad I’m sure someone told me but I missed it) and we jammed into Dave’s little Toyota and..
Hold on, why does a missionary have a gardener?
Good question! It’s not like North America where only the rich have gardeners or house help, nearly everyone does, it’s one way of helping people out-providing jobs.. besides, the money needs to be shared anyway, and who has the time for housework… remember, this isn’t Canada we’re talking about, it’s a completely different system, and it’s not a class thing. Families here would have young relatives come live with them who would do the same thing-and the money would go back to the families in the village… OH! almost exactly what Bleze is doing! ;) where was I?
Oh yeah, jammed into the Toyota, and bumped and banged our way out of town (not too many paved roads in that direction) ok. None. Dave though it would be a good idea for us to go to see the family before we drove in to take the maize out, so we parked, and began to walk. We walked for about 10 mins, baobab trees rising out of the grass... this is grass WAY over my head, I’m talkin’ grass 11 or 12 feet high, it bows in and you walk through a tunnel in places. Coconut and Palm, Mango and Papaya in the clearings, groundnut plants growing between them. Scatterings of partly finished homes and decaying huts. (I’ll tell you about buildings another day).
We stopped under a group of large Baobab and Mango trees that were somehow growing out of a tall pile of rocks. The rocks were really smooth… worn from generations of people coming to rest in the shade… it was incredible to think of the number of people who must have sat there to affect the rocks the way that they did. In some places there were large (three feet by two foot) oval rocks that were shaped like basins, but they had holes in the bottom of them. Bleze explained that they were used grinding stones that had worn through! Women use these flat stones to grind maize and millet they place them on the rock, and crush and grind with another rock…. How long would it take someone to wear right through a rock? These were at LEAST half a foot in thickness.
Then we came to Belze’s family’s compound. Homes here are generally set up with 3 or more buildings (one room each) turned so they create a courtyard in the centre.. that’s where all the living happens, out in the courtyard.
Inside we were met by chickens ducks goats and his grandmother, a tiny OLD woman, sitting on a step, her skirt around her, and a little baby toddling around nearby. When we came “in” another woman (an aunt) and a young cousin appeared. We (Lisa and I) were seated while Belze went over to his grandmother to tell her why we were there. Then Dave was brought over to meet her, where he surprised her by speaking in her own language… she thought it was HE-LAR-IOUS, and laughed and laughed and launched into some dramatic story about falling down the day before… and being deaf and why would a white guy know her language? She was pretty excited. Then I was invited over (next in age order) I’ve already forgotten my rehearsed greeting since then… but anyway, a hand shake with my right hand, left hand holding my own forearm (out of respect). Lisa and I were sent back to our seat against the mud bricks, and a young girl brought us some water in a gourd to drink… Dave said just to put it to our lips as a sign of thanks/respect for the gesture; we couldn’t really drink it since it wasn’t filtered. Then she brought us some groundnuts to eat… and we just sat there taking it all in. The young girl brought the nuts to Dave and he responded in Kabiye and she looked so surprised (she’d missed him talking to her grandmother) and she said she was relieved because she didn’t know what to do with so many white people!
It’s so different… village life. There’s no hurry, you just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done… until then you live. We sat while one young girl sorted beans and another shelled groundnuts. Then when enough? time had passed -so it wouldn’t seem like we were rushing out, we started our goodbyes (rather our “see you tomorrow’s”, good bye is too final, it’s like saying, “well, I’ll certainly never come back here again”. And we eventually left, only to round the side of the building into a cousin’s compound. The young girl who had brought us the water had followed behind us with a small bench.. she knew we wouldn’t be going anywhere any time soon.
EVENTUALLY we left. It probably was around 5:00 (sun sets at 6:10, dark at 6:20) but when we reached the clearing where the partly finished homes were, there were people sitting on the step… so we started again… handshakes, water, groundnuts…. Millet beer. Dave said, as a gourd filled with the cloudy brown stuff was passed to me, that he should have waned us that there is no fellowship in Togo that is complete unless it is around a calabash. (More on Millet beer another time).
Yeah, we didn’t leave there till close to 6. By that point I was sure I’d met every relative of Bleze’s that existed, and we still hadn’t even seen the maize that we were suppost to bring into town. We walked back to the car and drove it down a path to another set unfinished buildings, inside of one (surrounded by guinea hens) were the sacks of dried maize cobs, there weren’t enough bags so the rest was piled on the floor, a young girl with a hand broom to shoo away the hens and ducks sat beside the door.
We piled the bags into the back of the car.. ok, not we… they… man those things were HEAVY! Lisa another girl and myself climbed on top of them and squished ourselves in for the bumpy ride back to town, the guys squished into the front.
We arrived at Bleze’s home and the unloading began. This time I helped… I had to! This one lady with a baby strapped to her back stepped up to carry a bag… so how could I not? I walked up to the car and said “sur la tete s’il vous plait” Bleze LAUGHED and looked at Dave to see if I was joking, when Dave nodded that “yes” I wanted it on my head, he helped me with my load then followed me into the compound… I’m sure just to watch his family’s reaction! They doubled over laughing at this white girl with a giant sack of maize on her head, but I know that they appreciated the help, and really, anytime we try anything (us crazy white people) they appreciate it so much, even when we mess it up really bad… just to interact/ show that we aren’t so different!
Anyway, the whole experience was great, I learned a few more phrases to add to my severely limited vocabulary, learned a ton of cultural stuff, and just had fun in general.
Sorry this was such a long post…. I did cut a lot out.
Wish you were all here!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Better late than never

I've been having some technical difficulties, sorry, this might show up twice.

ALSO: could someone tell my dad that I can't get any email to him??????? PLEASE! Ask him to email me.

From: Lady Lesley Marie Boileau To: Subject: Jet lagging! Sent: September 23, 2004 9:32:17 PM

Hey Ninjas, ok, so some of you have been left out of the info loop for awhile as to where God has been leading me, so you'll all just have to go to the website to get a little caught up!
So, praise God, I'm currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Waiting for my connecting flight to Lome, Togo. Honestly, this trip has been such a blessing already. So I was leaving toronto and thinking to myself "who in their right mind flies to Togo Via:Frankfurt, AND Addis? I'm not going to recognise anyone, I won't have a travel buddy... not even one that I just follow and never actually talk to (you know the type? the lady with the BIG hair that you know must be reliable enough that if you follow at a distance you'll end up in the right place) SO, I get to Frankfurt and i'm TRYING DESPERERATLY to find my flight listed... and it's not. and I hear this voice beside me pipe up "you can't find Ethiopia either?" I turn and there's this girl close to my age, big M.E.C. bag on her back. she continues and says "I read the tag on your luggage when I was in line in Toronto and I've kinda been following you, I'm going to Lome too!" So, not only do I have a nice travel buddy, BUT (and this is so God's work!) She's a Christian, working in Benin for 3 months, and her original flight was last week but it was cancelled and she ended up on my flight! and we had seats together to Addis!!!!!! And we've got some pretty crazy background similarities.... so cool. I left T.O. Wednesday at 10:45 pm, I think it's thursday 5:30pm in Canada now, but we've had a 9 hour flight and a 7 hour flight and 4 hours layover AND it's Friday morning (early, but friday) I think we've got another 6 hours flight left. ok, gotta stop typing now, this will probably be the ONLY BIG email I send, I'll send out little notices when I've updated the website instead to avoid overloading my account with returned emails. If you reply, don't include the orginal message to save some space in my inbox ok? thanks!!!! PLEASE email, I miss you all already, and I love to hear from you.... keeps away the lonlieness. Peace prayers and crunchy granola, Lesley if you get this twice, let me know and i'll try to fix it

From: Lady Lesley Marie Boileau To: Subject: letter 2 Sent: September 25, 2004 3:29:30 PM
Hey Ninjas So Thursday I wrote to you, but the message got messed up so only a few received it. It MIGHT have gone to the website I’m not sure, at my last test it hadn’t worked yet…. If you’re a Prayer ninja and you’ve been left out of the loop as to what’s happening, you’d better go check the site to find out… OR if you’re new to the prayer ninja scene . Anyway! I’m in Togo and I’m alive!! Praise God!! So at the last update I was in Ethiopia, my flight path was a little on the long side but it saved me a ton… and, it also provided me with countless stories for future postings… Ok, so we were sitting in the plane on the tarmac and we’d been there for about 30 mins, so people were starting to grumble; those who were awake started to grumble, it was 3am local time. Then an aplogetic voice stumbles through 4 languages explaining our situation, eventually he gets to English, and I hear “we have sent someone to the store to buy a part for our plane, he will return in twenty mins. Until that time we wait. Thank you for flying with us, we are sorry” ok… so what PLANE PARTS store is open at 3am, what part, and how do I get off the plane?
We arrived in Lagos and hour late, then arrived in Lome only 45mins late… pretty good. I was met by one of the SIL staff (Wycliffe Togo) Jim Green and he helped me thru all the ins and outs of visas, he had a special pass to meet me right off the plane and to come thru customs… now I’m at the Lome guest house, and the whole Friesen family is here! Marv met me at the airport, And the rest of the family (Edith and the kids Lisa, Beth, Tyler, Simon and Michael) came in the evening to the guest house. I guess we’ll be staying here until Wednesday as Marv has to return to Canada, his mom is very sick with cancer so he was called home… We’ll head up to Kara (my home for the next three months) then. If your getting this message twice, let me know Ok, I should get off the computer, I’ve got lots to tell you and show you (via pictures) but that will wait. Love you all Peace prayers and crunchy granola Lesley Guess what!?!? You can write to me c/o
Lesley Boileau
BP 57
Togo West Africa

contact.. finally

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay on the previous posts, I guess there was an error when I sent them… anyway, ces’t le vie!

Are you ok?
Yeah, but I miss my friends and family, it’s kinda sucky not knowing many people, and I don’t want to spend all my time with the Friesen’s I don’t want them to get sick of me… or me of them! I’ve met so many people… I have no idea which name goes with which face. It’ll come with time.

So Les, how’s Togo?

Well, so far so good. Things have been incredibly hectic with Marv having to leave for Canada, Edith has had to step into his place here at the centre, so that means I’ve jumped right into what I came here to do… It’s neat how God totally had this already worked out… I mean, I knew from the start of this process back in April that I was suppose to be going SOMEWHERE in September. I didn’t know where, but I knew when. Then I was given a few opportunities to leave earlier, and one to leave later, but I KNEW September. Didn’t know why till now.
However, with his sudden departure and Edith being so busy keeping things running, I haven’t had any orientation to how the program that the kids are using works. It’s sort of “fly by the seat of my pants” right now. But they are great kids and up to the task, so they help me along. I feel bad that I don’t have any time for preparation for them, I’m still trying to figure out what it is that they’ve learned, and what comes next, and how each of them learns best…. But, we’ve made it through the first week, I’m sure that sooner or later I’ll catch on!

Am I going to be able to get hold of you way over there?

It looks like I’ll have internet access once or twice a week, (send emails) I’m using one of the kid’s computers.(send emails) There is an internet café but the keyboards are French (France French) so the keys are in the wrong spot, (send emails) I’d waste too much of my time trying to find the keys for it to be worthwhile.

Ok, but back to Togo?

Right, sorry about that (send emails I’ll write back eventually, and I miss knowing how everyone is, and just to have that connection with home is so good.)
Eh hmmm?
Weather is good.. HOT and humid! It’s the end of rainy season, so it rains every other day or so… not like Canadian rain, it doesn’t stay all day. It’ll be super clear out then ten seconds later a huge gust of wind will blow a storm right over the mountains onto us. It usually only lasts ten mins, HARD rain, but the other night it started at 12:30 and stopped at 7am. Each rain someone says “well, that’s the end of rainy season, no more rain for a few months” then it rains again.
Dude! I have a mountain in my backyard! Seriously! I look out the window each morning and look up.. way up. Kara is in a “bowl” there’s mountains on every side of the city. OHHHHH the ride here was CRAZY. Seven and a half hours in the land rover, the last two hours on the mountain pass…. But I’ll post that story next time.

What can we be praying for: for you?
Language comprehension and ability to converse in French is the big one. I’m fine on centre, it’s all people that I’ve met and can get by with my limited French, their limited English.. and there’s tons of English speaking missionaries here. But I want to be able to go to market without feeling like a helpless baby! Also that I could figure out the “North Star School” program. It’s great, I just haven’t had much time to take a look at it. Oh, and that I wouldn’t be lonely. I miss you guys!


No, enough for today this is a long enough posting!
Love you all,Les

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

testing email

So I'm testing out the abilities of my site to handle a posting via: email!
Here's a little note to all of you ninjas... well, actually it was sent to
me, but there's reference made in it to all of you!

>From: "Marv-Edith Friesen"
>To: "Boileau Lesley"
>Subject: soon!
>Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 22:15:56 -0000
>Hello dear Lesley,
>We're so excited about your upcoming arrival. We are praying for you as you
>say good-bye and make final preparations. I have a better idea of how you
>can be involved in teaching the kids. We've worked out quite a nice
>which should be manageable for you and will free me up to do Centre work.
>I'm so excited. I hope you enjoy working with the boys as much as I have
>been. The girls are working quite independently. I'm really pleased with
>start they've made. They also are looking forward to having you around. I
>think they'll really like having a "big sister". Already, you've been such
>blessing to us!
>Thank your supporters on our behalf. We know that the sacrifice and effort
>is huge. We are so thankful for their willingness and yours to be involved
>in our lives. The ultimate goal is to see others come to Christ, to give
>them God's Word in their own language. We are just a small part of that.
>What a privilege it is to work together to serve our great God!
>Must go for now. Know that you are constantly in our prayers.
>Love you much already,


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A settled heart

something I'm finding I have a little more of now, a settled heart. I know that God has all the plans worked out, even though I do not.

For example; I have been overly stressed for the passed few months on how the heck all my support was going to come in, and how was I suppost to do that and where do I start and whom do I approach and who would ever want to help and how does one go about writing letters of support and who's got money to give and..... *whew!* I got so overwhelmed with the process that I just ended up doing nothing to be organized. And God stepped in. Only because I'd finally stepped out of the way. Why did I even waste time worrying? "Who among you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matt 6:27... dude, what a waste of hours!
God is good, support is in... amen?

so, either there will be a picture posted above this writing or a bunch of gobble-de-gook typing. If there is a picture: this was sent to me by one of the kids I have the priveledge of working with in Togo. It's taken on their way to one of the churches.... very cool.
if there's no picture, apologies all around, I'll get this figured out sometime. Sometime soon I hope. ok, there's no picture... close your eyes and imagine this , a grey land rover type thing criving through quite the puddle... spray everywhere... oh, just come to Bagot St. I've got it set as our wallpaper on the computer.

Does anyone know of an inexpensive (but fully functioning) secondhand digital camera which I could buy?

Monday, September 13, 2004

ready.... break!

Yo team!

ok, ninjas, time is marching marching marching, and things are getting into gear. Praise God! I've gathered all my support, so now it's just a matter of (cleaning my room) packing!
but first a huge prayer request, that we (we being Wycliffe Canada, Togo-Benin, Togo-Kara and myself) would be able to figure out how to work the money thing. I guess most of the time people have paid out of their own pockets and then been reimbursed when they returned to Canada(those who have gone short term like myself) However, that's not really an option for me as I don't have my own money, I've got the money that God's given for my use (through you guys) sitting in my account at Wycliffe Canada. So anyway, pray that we figure out some sort of billing option so that I can access the money in the account... ok, did any of that make sense?
Also pray for a meeting that I've got tonight.
ok, so much has happened since I last posted. Finished the week at Joy, so good! Went camping with friends, also so good, painted the kitchen at work... pretty good, rabbit's toe got broken NOT so good. ok, had a conversation at the Sheffield's the other night about people's reactions to pain, and how most adults, even most teens don't cry for pain.. they may swear and carry on, but if you broke your toe, you weren't likely to cry. I cried over a broken toe... it wasn't my own though it was norton's. no fear, the vet said as long as it heals straight it won't need to be amputated.
I have some pictures that were sent to me from togo... but I can't figure out how to post them right now...
gotta run

Friday, August 20, 2004

I've got the JOY

Ok, so I've been a slacker in the posting department I know... and for the next week things will be even worse... because (hold on to your hats!) I GET TO GO TO JOY BIBLE CAMP YAHOO!!!!!!! ok, that out of my system~ I can post.

So the house concert went really well...I think I'm allowed to say that? I think it went well anyway. There was a nice mix of people I know... it's funny to look around the room and realize. Hey, not everyone knows everyone else... and I kept getting confused as to why so and so wasn't hanging out with so and so, because in my mind all my friends know eachother.. and I figure that they'd all be close friends with eachother too... I do have to admit that I was a little sad about the fact that so many people couldn't make it. I know it was a big wedding weekend, and there were alot of other things going on, but anyway... you guys missed a good time!
Also it was really neat to have some of the conversations that were had... ok, I'm being a little vauge, but well, just praise God with me for them anyway!
PLUS I'm so close to my fundraising goal, just $600 to go, Praise God!

sooo this week I'm off to camp to run out Joy's Jr. Youth newsletter. It's kinda like a yearbook, but it's only a week of camp. I'll spen lots of time behind the computer, but also lot's of time in the water, ahhh, water skiing, swimming, cliff diving, canoeing, kayaking... yup, a great summer vacation!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cest ca, cest vrai, cest la vie

It's not as if I haven't been writing all this time. I've been writing, but saved everything as a draft, nothing seemed worthwhile~ to be posted I mean.

Dudes, Saturday night is the house concert! I'm not really sure how that's crept up on me. I don't think I'm really ready, I don't have any of the printed materials I wanted, I haven't really thought much about what I want to say and share... In total I've been a procrastinator of the highest degree. It's been said that I can't really do something right unless I've had a good cry over it.

Let it be said again.

I nearly worked myself into the tizzy that it deserves today, but then I ran into a calming sort of person and got over it. Maybe I can get worked up again tomorrow.

So yes, I've gathered info to wow people with my Togolese knowledge.. LOL I've got to figure out a way to get it in order. ~ maybe make up some "stations" of information? There's some grocery shopping to do, some cooking prepwork, what do I want to share, should probably get in touch with our fine musicians of the evening, I'd like to get those prayer cards done, (ha ha ha, started!) should probably have a copy of my newsletter, need to talk to Rose and Roy about what they think people would enjoy hearing, do I need envelopes? Call Bethfields about "stuffs" needed, ie coffee pots, cutlery etc. There's a lot that goes into this eh?
(Tizzy can be felt rising)
Finally found some useful info online. Had to go to Lonely planet to get it though. Nothing else was panning out (in English anyway)
Cest Ca,
you're reading the words of the most English of all the Boileau's ever in history.
God grant me the gift of tongues and may it be French.

Friday, August 06, 2004


whoosh is the sound in my brain right now. I can't seem to get a hold on EVERYthing right now because there's so much going on! Ok, Les, You're just letting it overwhelm you there's not that much, take a breath sort it out.
will do,
doing ...
ok, all is better. Sorry about that. It's a busy time, aww, who isn't busy really?

Friday, July 30, 2004

expanding minds

so I learned a new word this morning, and with it opened all new ideas of, well, really, just how amazing our world really is.  
ethnomusicologist : Main Entry: eth·no·mu·si·col·o·gy Pronunciation: "eth-nO-"myü-zi-'kä-l&-Function: noun1 : the study of music that is outside the European art tradition  2 : the study of music in a sociocultural context- eth·no·mu·si·co·log·i·cal /-k&-'lä-ji-k&l/ adjective- eth·no·mu·si·col·o·gist /-'kä-l&-jist/ noun 

 now, how then does this word show me that we live in such an amazing world? The fact that we can specialize in some of the neatest things (in this example music and ethnicity- a study in anthro) and get payed for it!( ethnomusicologist in action here.) (Not only that, but the person from this example is a christian... so throw in so thology for good measure.... whoa baby!)

ug, again I've realised that I've got entirely too much work to keep typing... grrr


Thursday, July 29, 2004

leaving on several jet planes

Well, I think that things are coming together a little bit more for the trip....  I say that after actually accomplishing a few needed items (ie. buying tickets) but then I get this rush of panic, because I know there's still SO much to do!
So this week, with the much appreciated help of Mike M. (fianced to Laur W.!) I got some tickets to Togo. It's a little bit of a round about way to get there, but it helped save a couple hundred bucks so it's well worth it. The official date of departure is September 22nd (PRAISE GOD! it's not Sept 11th... not that there was really anything wrong with it, but it kinda gave me the heeby-jeebies) From Toronto I'll head to Frankfurt (Germany) from there, Addis (Ethiopia) then backtrack to Lome (Togo). Then I'll chill in Lome for a day or so and hit the dirt to Kara where the Wycliffe/Sil centre is.
I just realized that I have work to do.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

dog eared cages

On Saturday morning I went out to Norty's cage.. to play with him and squish him... The night before I had heard my neighbors screaming at the side of the house... Not in terror or anything like that, and not threateningly at eachother (which has been happening a lot lately, the other day I was on the phone with my co-worker Roy, and he could hear them swearing at eachother over the phone, he recommended calling the cops... Just for fun) Anyway, I think I figured out why they were screaming.. Their scary nasty dog (scary and nasty because he's so stupid and dirty) had been chewing on the rabbit cage! I've built these little privacy flaps on the front of the cage that you can close so that Norty can  have some peace/ work as ventilation in the winter when the whole front of the cage is closed.  Anyway, Shag-gay (you have to say it like that for the full effect... REALLY, my neighbor has this bad accent) has chewed one of the flaps, bent the hinge and put teeth marks all over it. It's splintered in a few places.  So normally I LOVE dogs... I pretend that Nort IS one (he's not so good at the pretending) But I kicked Shag-GAY in the head last week. He was trying to eat my buddy! So how do I approach my neighbor? That's the question of the day.

Wondering if I'll ever get my plane tickets. That's the question of the year!

Had a busy weekend. Worked mostly. Enjoyed an evening with the Sheffield's... Megan was home from camp, as was Ian.. They brought home a gaggle of C.H. camp employees, was a great night. Learned to blow smoke rings (I gave in to a soggy cigar). Sunday Lauren and Mike came over on their way back from a wedding. Was so good to see them! They were kept awake by the trains... LOL.
bought chocolate... Think I'll go back to the all chocolate diet that Amanda and I were perfecting.

Only have the garage roof left to shingle. Beth and I are starting early tomorrow, Alicia is helping??? And Al is away.. I think we can get it done fast though, there aren't any valleys or strange things to get in the way.

bon nuit

Sunday, July 18, 2004

a pet OR It's all about me

Not a pet as in; my dear Norton whom I love to squish and squish ; but as in a pet peeve. I was at church this morning and we sang (as all good pentys do) the same song over and over and over. And that wasn't the thing that was doing the peeving. We were singing "Blessed Be Your Name" ~a great song by Matt Redman~ when it hit me. So, my biggest peeve (in part) is when worship leaders don't put any effort into the preparation of leading people into worship... HELLO! You're the lead worshipper, we are following your lead, so lead us somewhere.  The other side of that is when they pick songs solely based on the fact that they "like the sound of the song" or rather they like the sound of their own voices singing the song. I'm talking about the ever catchy songs about us, not about God. Aren't we supposed to be worshipping Him? Instead we end up singing songs about how we are responding to Him, or what we are going to do for Him, or what we are going to change, or even grrr...  Now. I have to be careful here, because I know that a lot of people have never really thought about it themselves, and have entered into an amazing space in worship even though they were singing their own praises - that's ok, God can use anything, and if your heart is in the "right place", you've honestly intended to be praising Father God... Of course you will be. I think I'm meaning more us toddler/adolescent Christians who should be learning and digging a little further- we aren't babies anymore, we don't need to be so self centered.
I could sing of Your love forever, I've been singing this song forever... And oh I feel like singing...It's foolishness I know.... But when the world realizes I'm still singing about me, I'LOL be singing a new catchy song and they'll never knoooooo-oooowww.... 
I don't know if that made any sense. Anyway, I'm usually pretty impressed with the Matt songs, and I've been loving "blessed" a lot, I think because I heard it SO much this morning it turned on me
Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in Still I will say Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name.
We were still singing about what we were going to do... What ever happened to the awesome old hymns where we just sang about Jesus and His awesome power?