Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fun in the pool

Today it was actually warm enough to head to the pool. The water was freezing but it didn't seem to bother Isaac much. He jumped right in and swam for a good 30 minutes before he got out with teeth chattering and goose bumps all over his body. It took Evan a little longer to get in, but he took the plunge too. Eli and I both stood as lifeguards but hoped we wouldn't have to dive in. I couldn't even dangle my feet in the water - it was that cold!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fun at the playground

Playground photos

Today I took Isaac and Evan to a playground at a nearby shopping center and they had such a good time. They're sure missing their friends in Sudan. All the kids around here are still in school during the days so they get bored.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Uncle Stan's" visit

My brother Stan came to spend the weekend with us. He's in 9th grade at Rift Valley Academy where Eli and I both graduated from high school. The school is only an hour away so he got a ride with someone on Friday and spent 2 days with us. We had a great time laughing, relaxing, eating lots of good food, and enjoying being together.

I'm always so thankful when we can see family since it's so rare. And I want Isaac and Evan to know their uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. In two weeks my mom will fly in to Nairobi and my sister and dad will join us a few days later.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back in Kenya

We are now in Nairobi, Kenya waiting for this new baby. Bethany is now 35 weeks pregnant and nearing the end of her pregnancy. We've had a smooth pregnancy so far and have about a month before his due date - July 13. We already miss our friends in Yabus and are sad that we'll be away for so long but we also trust that God has some neat things in store for us while we're in Kenya. We are enjoying the much cooler weather, great food, and Internet access. We are on Skype and our username is ebfader if you want to chat.

Eli's birthday on June 6th

My friend Hakima

This is my friend Hakima. She owns a little tea and coffee shop in town. Our friendship began the week we arrived in Yabus on our first trip to the market. We went to have tea and just "happened" to go to her shop. I started going to visit with her to practice my Arabic and very quickly a sweet friendship developed.

Look at the details in this picture. We're standing right outside our shop in town. Just notice the donkeys in the background and the lovely scenery with the mountains. The beauty of the place strikes me daily and I still can't believe we have the privilege of living and working in Sudan.

Sudanese style picnic

About a week ago we had a large celebration for our students who just completed another term in the basic education program. It was a big event with people from the community joining us for speeches, special recognition of several students, and of course a large feast of goat meat. Meat is always a special treat for us and as you can see, Isaac and Evan didn't care where they sat. They just dug right in.

Father/Son time

Isaac and Evan love helping Eli with different projects around the compound. Now that the rains have picked up, it's fun to watch the three of them walking around in their boots.

Meet Katie

Katie joined our team in Yabus in February expecting to only stay for a few weeks. But she fell in love with the Sudanese and decided to stay through July. Katie has been a HUGE answer to prayer for me (Bethany). I have been praying that God would send someone my age and culture to Yabus. Although we have many Sudanese friends, I felt a great need to have a friend who could really understand me.

From the beginning Katie and I hit it off great. We've enjoyed sharing the ups and downs of life in the bush, we've prayed together, we've done ministry side-by-side, and in only 4 months God has given us a really special friendship.

Pregnant Mama

Rauia and Martha

These two ladies are Bethany's two closest friends in Yabus. They're both Uduks who live right down the path from us. Martha is mother of 7 children and Rauia has 2. Isaac, Evan, and I go to visit them almost every day since their children are also their friends and playmates. Sometimes we sit and drink tea. Other times I try to help them grind their sorghum between two rocks.

Crazy Isaac!

Nyai and Evan

Nyai is one of our students at the basic education program. Isaac and Evan have learned the names of many of the students since they also come and do work on the compound to make money to support their families. We really enjoy living in community with these neat men and women.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Meet George Bush

George Bush is the son of Susa Ahmed, a student in our primary school in Yabus. For better or worse, America’s influence has stretched far and wide. We are in Kenya now and this country is beaming with the nomination of Obama for the Democratic party. Half-Kenyan, he has been claimed as a hero here and the naming of children, schools, and even matatus (buses) is very common right now.

Plane Accident

At the end of April, four SIM Sudan missionaries were in an airplane that crashed soon after takeoff from their base in Sudan. Neither the pilot or four missionary ladies sustained life-threatening injuries but were taken by helicopter to Malakal and then flown to a hospital in Nairobi. We have witnessed the recovery and return of two missionaries back to their locations in Sudan and one back to America for her scheduled home assignment. Only the pilot and one lady are still recovering but are doing very well.

Flying by plane is the only way we are able to get to our location in Yabus and it was interesting to experience doubts and fears about flying that I previously hadn’t felt. This crash made me feel suddenly unsafe and nervous. Scheduled to fly only a week after the crash, Bethany and I tightened our seatbelts extra tight and gulped down our fears. As we flew over the clouds, I peered out the window to witness something I’ve never seen before. Our plane’s shadow was cast upon the cloud below and surrounding it was a clear rainbow. The rainbow made a full circle around our plane.

Hmmm, rainbow. Don’t those have some meaning?? Given as a promise to Noah that God would not destroy the world again, it was a promise of protection and preservation. It was as if God was saying, “Hey, just in case you were wondering….I gotcha. Don’t worry.” Has Sudan been easy? No. But has God been with us? Absolutely.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sundays in Sudan

This week we went to church in a nearby village called Gondolo. After the church service (Eli preached on marriage), we walked down the path to a church member's home and sat for more than an hour eating roasted ground nuts, drinking coffee, and learning from each other. Such sweet fellowship!

The 3 most handsome Fader men

Evan and our cat, Muzungu

Bethany: the baby magnet

Bible study + literacy

Since we began the women's Bible study a month ago, the women have been asking us to teach them how to read their Bibles. It's amazing how hungry and eager they are to learn more. Some of them try to follow along in their Uduk Bibles when Scripture is read, but they want to be able to read it on their own. Starting this Friday, we'll do our regular Bible study during the first hour, and then offer literacy for those who want to stay for another hour. Please pray that this group of women will keep coming weekly. Pray for Katie who will be teaching alone while I'm in Kenya.

Evan is our little extrovert.

Isaac is shy and introverted. Evan, on the other hand, loves everyone. He makes friends wherever he goes. Whether we're walking to town, driving to church, or people pass by our house, everyone seems to know our boys' names.

"I love Sudan!"

Eli and his "apprentices" at the end of a work day

Eli's night class

For several weeks in a row, Eli taught a small finance class about spending and saving money. Saving money and planning ahead are new ideas for most people but these simple tips can make a huge difference for these men and their families.

Our transport in and out of Sudan

Instead of using highways to get back and forth to our home in Yabus and our mission base in Kenya, flying is our only option. This Cessna Caravan is what we usually take. Isaac and Evan LOVE every ride and look forward to every trip.