Happy 3rd Birthday, KJ!

This weekend we celebrated KJ’s birthday at our home in Nalerigu. KJ’s grandparents had come to visit and Granny Sarah’s birthday is the day before KJ’s so it was a dual-birthday party!

Lots of KJ & Trey’s friends came as well as some of our colleagues and visiting volunteers from the hospital.

KJ Learning to Swim

KJ’s swimming improved a lot this month during our short holiday in Mole National Park.

We also had a surprise visitor at the pool one morning! Thankfully he didn’t get in to swim!

Easter Eggs Hunts at Nakpanduri and Home

Easter came around again and that meant a visit to Nakpanduri for Ms. Denise’s annual easter egg hunt ! I lose track of how many years she has been doing this but it’s over 30 and each year we make sure we attend (2017, 2016, 2015). In addition to the BMC families, this year we had a massive group of volunteers (9 from WVU and a couple others) as well as four German friends that attended.

The next day Heidi did her own traditional Easter Egg hunt around the house with the kids (2017, 2016, 2015).

Baby Naming at Tambɔna Preaching Point

Sumnibooma#1 Baptist Church, a place we visit fairly regularly, has a new preaching point in Tambɔna, a very small community a couple miles away. They erected a simple shelter in which they meet weekly for a worship service. Sumnibooma#1 sends two or three of its members to lead the service.

I had not yet been able to visit the group at Tambɔna but had promised I would do it soon. Rev. George asked me to go on March 25th to preach and do a baby naming ceremony for a couple there.

Often for such events I preach a sermon that has a theme that matches the meaning of the child’s name. However, this child had no traditional name (those are often connected to proverbs) and his English given name was Desmond. Desmond is an anglicization of the Gaelic locale Deas-Mhumhna, or “South Munster.” So basically, Desmond means “Irish guy from South Munster.” Kind of hard to preach a sermon in a rural West African village on that topic.

Thankfully, I found one claim that the American meaning of Desmond has become “gracious defender” (don’t ask me how). That was a much easier meaning to tie to Scripture since Christ is our gracious defender – our advocate before the Judge!

Randy and Kathy Arnett

We lost two dear friends and missions role-models yesterday. Randy and Kathy Arnett served 32 years in Africa – many of those years with my parents in Ivory Coast.

Randy prophetically sounded the alarm about the lies, dangers and influences of the Neo-Pentecostal movement invading and destroying West Africa’s protestant churches. I thank God that he was able to write and publish his book on the topic before he was called to his Savior’s side. It is a seminal work that captured his legacy as a theological educator who wouldn’t compromise Biblical truth yet loved West African church leaders with a Biblical grace.

You can read an article on the IMB website about the Arnetts’ legacy as well as a touching tribute from their friend and colleague Chuck Lawless on his website.

Here are some photos of the Arnetts at some events we attended together: BMC’s 50th Anniversary in 2008 and the 2016 Jubilee Celebration of Baptist Work in Ivory Coast

Experiencing Israel with Pastor Andy Cook

Six years ago I had the privilege of working with Pastor Andy Cook in creating multimedia materials for Bible education. Andy’s ministry Experience Israel Now uses them in seminars and speaking engagements in churches, school, and prisons in the US. I was thrilled that he asked me to come work with him again this month in Israel.

This trip was different from the first one in that we didn’t hit the most popular sites but explored biblical locales that are a bit more off the beaten path. We traveled for ten days from Beersheeba down to the Sea of Galilee, north to Omrit and and back up to Jerusalem.

Another new twist was that Chris Dunn of Georgia Drone Pros came along to shoot drone footage of the sites. He got some incredible aerial footage – some of it had never been shot before! Read More

Weiner Schnitzel vom Schwein with the Germans

Recently our friend Nils told us that his favorite European food was weiner schnitzel (Germans eat it with pork instead of the traditional Austrian type with veal). So we got some pork from a local butcher, made cutlets, flattened them out and had them ready for Sunday night.

When he came over we worked together to fry up the meat and prepared a very German meal of weiner schnitzel, potatoes, and cabbage.

Marlen, who had been ill the week before mustered up quite an appetite and surprised us by eating a whole schnitzel herself! Perhaps her illness had some symptoms of homesickness that we helped to cure.