Stories from the north

Well, I’m off the Mozambique in a little over an hour so I thought I’d share briefly about our last OFM trip before our next one is underway. I love my job, by the way. I love getting to experience such a wide swath of Africa, how there is so much diversity in people, cultures, religion. And to see how God is redeeming people from all tribes, whether missionaries are there or not! We heard a lot of stories from our last trip, to a closed nation in the Horn of Africa, of how people who’ve never met a Christian or heard of Jesus have been spoken to personally by him in their dreams, telling them that he is the way, the truth, and the life. They wake from these dreams shaken and changed to the core, and after a great deal of secretly searching and researching him, have committed to follow him with their lives. The amazing thing is that you will find this story across Africa, particularly countries where it may get you killed to follow Jesus. The more extreme the persecution – obviously the less likely the people will get to hear of Jesus – the more likely Jesus will speak to them personally through their dreams. In other words, God will redeem his people in spite of what any government or religion might try to do to stop it. So, Ted and I had an amazing time in this last country, hearing these stories, and he did a great job writing about this, so I’m going to plagiarize him for the rest of this post:...

Funky Cold Medina and other cool things

I have to start out with this photo showing the view from our hotel window. I’d like to say the 5am call to prayer woke us up, but it didn’t, as tired as we were. Anyhow, yesterday we woke up very late (10 am or so) and went down to breakfast which is nothing but croissants and strong coffee- which is pretty much all I ever need for breakfast, God bless the French! After breakfast, we walked a couple of blocks to the “Medina”, which means city in Arabic I guess. It really means the old part, I gathered, as the buildings and streets got really old and really narrow. In the center of the medina is the mosque, and spoking/spiraling out from there are a specific order to the shops. In this medina, there are 2 main alleys through it from the end of Ave Bourgiba. The one on the left is crammed full of tourists and vendors desperate for your business. If you go down the one on the right, you’ll probably be the only westerner there, and the vendors aren’t out for blood. Instead of trinkets, they’re selling clothes and shoes and sunglasses and stuff we get at the mall. Anyhow, this particular day we went the tourist route, and I have to say I’ve never seen anything like this place. Any touristy trinket you could hope for could be found here, everything from decorative metalwork to miniature “boubly boubly”, which I found out later is actually called chicha (again, more on that later). Anyhow, B left us there on our own, so that he could...

Day 1 continued…

Wow… I am so overwhelmed. I’ve never been anywhere where english isn’t spoken. It’s like a whole different planet than what I’m familiar with. Everything is white with blue trim. Cars are small and people drive crazy… running over curbs, scraping against other cars. The arabic language sounds like an argument. Even a calm conversation sounds like the participants are raising their voices and getting upset. Maybe it’s the 14 different ways to pronounce the “H” sound. After we landed in XXXXX we went through customs and I tried a little French small talk with the customs officer. They speak French in XXXXX, but I’m pretty sure the guy didn’t think I was speaking French because I learned French with a rural Illinois farm town accent. We took 2 taxis to B’s apartment (taxis are only large enough for 2 passengers, plus luggage), and since I was the only person in the group, besides B (who spoke arabic), with language skills (ha), I was doomed to always ride in the “other” taxi for the week. Just getting a taxi and negotiating a fare at the airport involved what looked to be quite an animated debate, that even involved the police. Somehow my taxi made it to the same place B’s did, and we arrived at his apartment around lunch time. These pictures are of the outside of the apartment (landlord lives on first floor, B’s apartment was directly above him, with access to the roof). Looking out his window, I could honestly say I couldn’t believe I was in Africa. Middle East, maybe, but not Africa. It is really...
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