Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 23rd

Dec. 23rd: We had a team Christmas party with Christmas caroling and a fun white elephant gift exchange. The funniest gift was when Canberra (the shyest member of our team) opened a pair of little boy race car underwear! After the party, the rest of the team drove out to Gondolo village (4 miles away) to Christmas carol. We discovered that Christmas caroling is also a custom among the Uduk and Mabaan tribes. On Sunday the Mabaan church members came to our compound singing and dancing. And on Tuesday night, the Uduk church youth came caroling too. So we decided to return the blessing.

Dec. 24th

Dec.24th: In the afternoon we had our own family Christmas at home. We read the Christmas story to the boys using a fun interactive book with felt characters that you could stick on each page. Then we opened a few gifts. Eli and I bought clothes for each other at our local market so on Christmas day we both wore our new Sudan clothes. After dinner that night we went caroling to the Mabaan and Uduk villages on our side of the river. We carried lanterns and sang along the way. It was so much fun.

Bethany's new dress from the Yabus Market!

Reading the Christmas Story

Josh was really happy with his gift

December 25th- Christmas Day

Dec. 25th: At 8:30, the kids and moms with babies rode the quad bike to town for church. It was a special service since the Mabaan and Uduk tribes joined together in one church. Even the choir was mixed with Uduk and Mabaan singers! The service went until 1 pm. After church the kids and I came home for lunch and a nap and around 4 we returned to the Uduk church for a huge feast, then joined the Mabaans for dancing and singing around town. The “caroling” ended as it was getting dark so we headed back to the Mabaan church where they served us more food. By now we were very full and had eaten lots of pork and goat meat, sodas, and kisra – a thin pancake-like bread made with sour sorghum and very tasty. By the time we’d finished eating it was very dark and we had one flashlight and the quad bike. The kids and I got on the quad bike and shone the light for the rest of the team to walk home.

Caroling through the town with the Mabaan Church

December 26th

Dec. 26th: This day we celebrated Christmas in Gondolo, a village about 4 miles away. They told us to come at 9 am for a church service. We arrived right on time. The men went off to sit and drink coffee with the men and the women sat under a huge tree and drank coffee and tea. When we first arrived, they had just slaughtered the pig and wanted us to admire it and take pictures, so we did. Around 1 p.m. one of the church leaders came to tell me that a woman nearby had gone into labor and was having complications. I strapped Josh to my back and asked Victoria to watch Isaac and Evan (Eli was still in town doing visitation among the Mabaan church elders.) About a mile from the church, we finally made it to the hut where the woman was. The anxious husband and father were pacing outside. I ducked inside and saw 5 other women squatting in the dark and the woman in labor on the bed. I greeted them in Arabic and went over to check on the mama. She had already given birth to a darling baby girl, but 2 months premature. The baby was very tiny but breathing well and crying so I knew she was OK. However, they had not cut the cord and the placenta was stuck inside still. All of you know I am not a nurse, even though everyone here seems to think I am. I wasn’t sure what to do but encouraged her to get up and squat and try to push. We did that but she fainted two times. Each time she passed out, one of the women got a mouth full of water and spewed it all over her body to wake her up. It worked every time. I was behind her supporting her body and there was a woman holding the still-attached baby. I was praying the whole time and suddenly remembered that there was an Uduk lady at the church celebration who was a midwife in town, so we sent for her. By the time Lucy, the midwife arrived, the baby had been out for 3 hours. She was still doing fine but getting cold. We had her wrapped, but she needed body heat. Thankfully Lucy knew just what to do and cut the cord (with me watching so I’ll know what to do next time). Lucy did all she knew how to do to get the placenta out, but it was stuck, so Lori brought the quad bike and took her and her husband to the clinic in town. She refused to take her baby on the bike and left her with another woman to nurse.
By now it was almost 4. I was hungry and thirsty since I hadn’t eaten all day and it was about 100 degrees out. I got back to the church right as the service was ending. The head count was 279 so floods of people came down the path to the place where we would eat together.
Isaac and Evan were starting to fall apart since it had been a long day and they hadn’t eaten anything except for some nuts and raisins I brought. Around 5:00 sat down to eat. We had a wonderful meal of goat, pork, and kisra. We tried to eat kind of fast because we knew we had to walk home which would take more than an hour with all our kids. Isaac already had 3 blisters on one foot from sand rubbing in his sandals. I said a quick prayer and asked God to somehow carry us home. By now we were all hot, dusty, and very tired. Miraculously Isaac walked all the way home – all four miles. I carried Evan on my shoulders and had Joshua on my back. I’m not sure how I did it – God did it.
We got home just as the sun was disappearing around 7. Eli was setting up the movie screen to show “The Nativity.” I knew I wouldn’t last much longer, so I brought the boys home, bathed all three, and put them straight to bed. I followed suit.
As you can see, this Christmas week was quite eventful. We had a lot of new experiences and learned a lot from our Sudanese friends.Edna and baby Sandy from the Ganza tribe. It has been fun to pass on some of our children's clothes and see them around the village.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to donate to the bridge project

We've had several people say they want to give to the bridge project for Christmas this year. The easiest way is to visit the bridge blog ( and at the top of the page you can click on the project number to donate to the project. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chocolate Chick

Today was our teammate Asule's birthday so while the boys were napping, I baked a chocolate cake. I had finished the batter and set it on a stool in our kitchen hut while I went to get more charcoal. Just a few seconds later I heard a baby chick squawking and guess what I found? A baby chick was stuck in my chocolate cake batter! He had ventured to hop into the bowl for a taste and fell in! YUCK!

I wanted to help get him out but when I got close the mama hen flew at me and attacked me. I ran out of the kitchen, right into Zephaniah, our guard. I told him what happened and he helped rescue the now chocolate dunked chick.

After all the hard work of making the cake, I was hesitant to throw it out. I checked for feathers, dirt, and poop and found none, so in the oven it went! At the birthday party tonight I couldn't decide if it would be good to tell the story or not. Maybe tomorrow.

Yabus' Baby

Josh doesn't mind being held by anyone. He's content to sit in anyone's lap.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Honoring Eli

I want to take this opportunity to tell the world how much I love my husband. I know this is bold, but I'm daily amazed at the incredible man God has given me and I want to honor him for all he does. First of all, all the glory goes to the Lord, not Eli. God called and equipped Eli to do this work in Sudan, so Eli simply obeys and follows Christ each day, doing whatever it might be with great passion and fervor. Sometimes it's building a bridge, sometimes it's showing 30 men how to make soil blocks, sometimes it's putting a roof on a building or digging a latrine, sometimes it's driving a sick woman to the clinic, sometimes it's showing Isaac and Evan how to use a saw, sometimes it's taking the family to the river for the afternoon. But I will say this: HE'S GOOD AT EVERYTHING!

I love Eli Fader so much.

He knows how to do EVERYTHING!

A great papa

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas is HERE in Yabus!

Yesterday we made cut out sugar cookies and shared them all over the compound. Today we went searching for the perfect tree - well not quite perfect - but at least it's green and doesn't have thorns! We had fun listening to Christmas music while we hung a few ornaments that I brought from the States.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Are these cute kids or what?

My day with the kids is full but when I look at these pictures I realize our boys are having the most incredible childhood ever! Growing up in the middle of nowhere (well, the middle of Sudan) they are making so many happy memories.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Our Yabus Thanksgiving

After only four hours of cooking over charcoal on a 100 degree day, our Thanksgiving meal was complete and ready to serve: bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, homemade dinner rolls, green beans, squash and pumpkin pie for dessert. It was delicious. Only four of us on the team are Americans but our Indian, Scottish, English, Nigerian, and Sudanese teammates enjoyed it too.
I had to include a picture of how Lori rolled out the pie crust and how our table was set.