Monday, July 29, 2013

Guinea Fowl Stew

Guinea fowl have kind of been an obsession in our family lately. Since all of the students have planted gardens, including us, we have become very protective of our hard work. These little rascals come in the early morning and evening and scratch up and eat the seeds and little budding plants. So for the past few months Eli and the boys have experimented with different types of traps and hunting.
    A week ago they learned a new technique from our Sudanese friends - a trap made of string with lots of different loops that is stretched over a large area so the birds get caught in them. Today around lunchtime Isaac heard the familiar squawk of a fowl in trouble. He rushed out and was able to grab the fowl while it was still stuck. "Guinea fowl for dinner tonight Mom", he proudly announced as he carried the bird onto our porch to show it off.

A few hours later German, Isaac's best friend, came over to help kill it for me. We have a sweet deal whenever we get chickens or ducks that he will butcher and de-gut it if I give him the innards, head and feet. This is a great deal! As you can see, all the kids thought it was very entertaining.

All ready to put in the pot. I know it looks a little pathetic!

After browning it in the pressure cooker, I poured in some seasonings and dehydrated vegetables (the only fresh produce we can get in market right now are onions, garlic and sweet potatoes!) and an hour later - voila!

Guinea fowl stew was a big hit! And that scrawny little bird fed our family of 5, our teammate Claire, and 6 little neighbor friends. :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

School Sharing

In the last week my teammate Amie Cross and I have been joining forces with our homeschooling to make it more fun. Last Friday Amie did a public speaking class and each child, even 20-month old Daniel, got up in front of the others, introduced themselves, told what their favorite thing to do was, and then concluded by asking if there were any questions. It was precious and I had to suppress giggles a few times because it was so pickin' cute!

This morning's class was Music Theory. Amie brought over a bunch of tin whistles and Isaac brought out his drum and Evan his recorder. They learned what a music staff is and about the different types of music notes: whole, half, and quarter.

very attentive students

making a joyful noise :)

She even showed them how conductors show when to start and stop the music. I was glad the GTC students weren't in session because of all the ruckus coming from our house but boy did our kids have fun!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Our BIG 9-year-old

Our summers are always a flurry of birthday celebrations since 4 of our 5 family members have birthdays in June and July. Isaac brings a close to this season with his 9th birthday today, July 20th. We began this special day with a pile of chocolate chip pancakes and we have a picnic and outdoor movie with all the campus kids planned for later in the day.

I have enjoyed "going down memory lane" so come along and join me. This morning the thing that really hit me as I was making breakfast was that our oldest son is only 9 years old and yet he's already had a very full life. He's lived in many different places and experienced things many people don't experience in a lifetime. Thank you Lord for giving this incredible childhood to our children!

July 20, 2004: Isaac Amani was born in Chicago, IL

We were only 23 when we became parents but God was gracious and as you can see, fatherhood came very naturally to Eli. He is still such a wonderful father to our 3 boys!

Isaac was such a good baby, sleeping through the night at only 6 weeks old, and making a move to South Carolina when he was only 2 months old. However, he did get into mischief now and then.

Before Isaac turned 1, Eli and I were already spreading the word about the difficult situation going on in Sudan. Before he was 2 we were appointed with SIM to go to Sudan as missionaries.

What a sweet little one year old! Eli was in seminary at the time so Isaac and I had special days just the two of us.

Christmas at age 18 months. We were already expecting a little brother

3rd Birthday in Yabus, Sudan
Age 4 and loving life in Sudan. This was our donkey, Teddy.

5th Birthday, still in Yabus :)

Swimming in the Yabus River

6th Birthday in South Carolina on home assignment

7th Birthday in Khartoum, Sudan. Shirtless was his typical wardrobe since it was so hot up there!

One year ago we celebrated Isaac's 8th birthday shortly after arriving in Melut. We have now been here one year and our boys are thriving. We are so thankful for happy, healthy boys!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

200 km for a Slumber Party

200 km for a slumber party

July 14-15

At 6 pm on Saturday evening, one of our Sudanese colleagues, Joyce, came over to our house to tell us she found a ride with a UN vehicle for the next morning to take her to Mabaan county to visit our late Principal’s wife and family. I had already been hoping for a chance to go see Lydia and her children during the break between semesters so I asked if there might be room for me to go along. Joyce told me to go ahead and pack an overnight bag and be ready by 8 am. By 9:45 we were both in a land cruiser heading to Mabaan.

We arrived in Bunj town around 4 pm and tried to find transportation to Dangaji, the village where Lydia and her family lives, but no vehicles would drive there because the rains had flooded the road. So at 5 pm, not wanting to waste anymore daylight, Joyce and I decided to walk, though we knew it would take almost 2 hours. By 7 pm we arrived and surprised Lydia and the kids. We hadn’t been able to get a hold of them by phone so they were quite surprised to see us. I had brought balloons and letters and cards from Isaac, Evan and Josh to the younger children so I gave those out. Joyce and I walked around the village greeting relatives of the late Philip Eisa and then settled down around a fire once it grew dark. We talked and caught up and ate supper around 9. By then it was getting cold so the ladies all headed into one mud hut for the night. Several beds had been made on the floor and some on bed frames, all with bug nets. Once we all got settled in our beds, we talked and laughed late into the night, well past 1 am. At one point I smiled to myself, realizing that slumber parties aren’t just something we have in the west. That night we had a real Sudanese-style slumber party.

The next morning we woke up early so we could visit some more with Lydia's family before Joyce and I had to trek back into town to catch our ride back to Melut. It was such a short visit but we couldn’t complain since it was a free ride and those are very hard to come by. After a cup of morning tea and brushing my teeth with a special “brush” made for me from a tree branch, Joyce and I set off for town. This time it only took us an hour and a half but once we arrived in the market we received news that our ride would be delayed. 3 ½ hours later we left!

We stopped several times on our trip back to Melut. Our driver had several jobs along the way so we got to see some of the UN projects in the refugee camps and got to meet a lot of interesting people. The road seemed very rough having just driven it the day before, then hiked 2 hours to the village and back. Add on to that the fact that we didn’t sleep much the night before and now were back on the bumpy roads! When we arrived safely back in Melut around 7 pm on Sunday evening, I can’t remember it ever feeling so good to be back in my own home. And who would have thought that a basin bath could be so soothing?

Having said all that, I am soooo glad I went. It was wonderful getting to know Joyce better and spending precious hours with Lydia and her children. It did my heart good to see all of them smiling and laughing. They seem to be doing well under the circumstances. It was nice to get away and have an adventure on my own. Each time I felt my sore muscles today, I breathed a prayer of thanks to the Lord for allowing me the privilege of traveling 200 km for a Sudanese slumber party!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Joshua's Birthday Bash

Josh wanted to have ALL his friends over for his birthday celebration so I made 3 cakes.

Eli planned lots of fun games so at the beginning of the party he lined all the kids up from tallest to shortest and divided them into teams.

The 3-legged race

Evan demonstrates the sack race

The sack race was the biggest hit of all so we played it over and over again. Wow, look at that hair!

1st attempt at a pyramid

Red hot poker - yes there were a few tears :)

Precious Boys

All the kids had a great time and all the sugar wore off by the time they went home. Happy 5th Birthday Josh!

*Thanks to Amie Cross for taking some of the photos

Christmas in July

One of our lady students at GTC has been doing a vacation Bible school every Saturday with our campus kids for the past few months. Last Saturday she organized a party with singing, games, cookies and juice to celebrate the end of their program.

A church in North Carolina sewed and sent more than 50 beautiful pillowcase dresses to share with our kids here in Melut so I shared briefly with the children that these were gifts sent from a church in America. We gave out dresses to the girls and balloons to the boys.

Singing a song in Dinka

The little girls were so excited for their new dresses

...and promptly tried them on.

Don't they look beautiful?
*Thanks to Amie Cross for these pictures

Completed the Gospel of John with the student wives

Last week we completed our year-long Bible study of the Gospel of John with the student wives. This felt like such a milestone! To conclude our study with chapter 21, Judi Cochran, a very special woman visiting us for a few weeks, led us in review. She asked each woman to come prepared to share their favorite story or passage from John. It was so neat to hear from each of them and my heart overflowed with thanks to the Lord for how He's been moving in each of their hearts.

After our study time we shared a meal of fish and bread just like the disciples ate with Jesus in John 21. The ladies loved it and it was a fantastic conclusion. Please pray for the Lord's leading as we decide what book of the Bible to study next.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our "baby" is 5 today!

Today, July 10, our "little" Joshua Daniel turns 5! It is amazing how the time flies. I always enjoy looking back at the years...

Josh was born in Nairobi, Kenya and his two older brothers were so excited to meet him!

Our family photo as the "Fader Five" taken the day we flew back into South Sudan with our 8 week old.

Walking home from the airstrip, the village children crowded around to get peak at the new kawadja  (white) baby.
3 months old in Yabus, Sudan

Learning to walk with his namesake: Daniel

Right at home in Sudan - age 1

18 months, celebrating Christmas in Uganda with grandparents

Age 2 in America on furlough

Age 3 in Khartoum, Sudan

Age 4 in Melut, South Sudan

Grandpa's boy, see the resemblance?

Joshua, we love you so very much. May you grow in knowledge and love for your Savior!