What a week this has been! We are getting to know a new culture, new ministry and new people. We’ve asked lots of questions and experienced many new things. Here are a few pictures of where we live!
This is the house where I live. On the left you can see the 3 guest rooms where we stay, and on the right the porch to the house where Anne and Johan (the missionaries who have been here 10 years) live and where we all eat.
We have running water from the pumps they dug underground. The walls of the bathroom and the shower are made out of sticks (like the people's houses in the village) and there is no roof!
This is the water pump that missionaries have drilled for the community. People come to fill up their jugs of water and carry them back on their heads. i helped a girl (of my same height and build) lift a 10 gallon jug. I could barely help her lift it so she could put it on her head. I was amazed as she balanced it, and then walked off with it on her head.
As far as activities go, this week was slow as we were planning out the next 8 weeks. We had a meeting with the village chief to present ourselves as visiting missionaries and to present our ideas of what we would like to do in the community. we thank God that he is a Christian man, and that he approved of the work we will do in the community.
Every day Isaac and I will be running a "Sunday School' type program with the children in the community. all of them are invited and it is likely that hundreds of children will come. We will be teaching about God's character- His love, His power, his miracles, and the relationship that he wants with us. Each week we will focus on one character trait of God, and do different lessons and stories throughout the week to teach that character. For many of these children, this might be their first exposure to who God is and what He is like. What an honor it is for us to teach this to these children. Please pray that we can teach them accurately and in a way that they will understand.
We will also have a time to speak to teenagers ages 12-16 about identity and purity. We will be doing this with 2 different churches. Isaac will talk to the boys, and I will be with the girls. The culture here is very different as far as purity issues go. If a guy wants to marry a girl, they will sleep together first until she gets pregnant. After he sees she is fertile they will then be married. We will come alongside what the missionaries are already doing; teaching young people God’s way of marriage and dating.
Our 3rd “mission” that we have here is to teach teachers the value of children. Children are not seen as “real people” until they are of age to have children themselves. But we know that God made each child a fully functioning human being with the right to be respected an honored. Isaac and I will go to 3 government schools to talk with the teachers about the value of the child.
There is a preschool that runs in the morning for children ages 4 and 5. Every day we will be helping with the preschool. We helped with the school this past week, but it was much different than any other preschool that I have worked with. Education that we taught was basic hygiene instead of letters and numbers. We taught the children to wash their hands. We cleaned out their dirty nails and cut them.
The guys from Chile who are starting the sponsor program bought each child a toothbrush and toothpaste, and we taught them how to brush their teeth. For many of the children it was the first time that a toothbrush had ever been in their mouth. It was funny to see how they reacted as the toothbrush was on their teeth, but it made me feel so sad for children who are so poor that their parents cannot even give them basic health care. Many of the children also had open wounds on their head from razors that are shared with one too many people. So we rubbed a cream on the wounds and hopefully their little heads will start to heal soon. There was one girl with many dead flies stuck in her hair, so one of my tasks was to pull out the flies and put medicine on her head.
Isaac has been busy translating meetings and working with the guys from Chile. This morning one of the guys preached. Isaac translated his Spanish into English, and Pastor Anton translated it into Changan. The church is on the property here, and although they worship in their own unique way, I am amazed at the power of God. He is in all nations, in all communities, waiting for people to call out to Him and know Him as the only true God.