Saturday, July 25, 2009

For All The Saints in Sierra Leone...

Tonight Eric busted out his guitar and we sang some good ol RUF hymns. I've missed singing hymns this past year, and Eric had recently offered to start playing so that we could sing together.

We sang a couple of songs, including For All the Saints. A few of the six verses are below (I suggest clicking on the link and listening along- you may need to click the song)-
For all the saints who from this labor's rest
To thee by faith before the world confess

Thy name oh Jesus, be forever blessed

Alleluia, allelu

Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might
Thou Lord, their Captain, in the well-fought fight
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light
Alleluia, allelu


O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold

Fight as the saints, who nobly fought of old

And win with them, the victor's crown of gold
Alleluia, allelu


But lo! There breaks a yet more glorious day;

The saints triumphant rise in bright array
The King of glory passes on his way

Alleluia, allelu


From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast

Through gates of pearl, streams in the countless host

Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Alleluia, allelu


Okay, so most of the six verses... but I love this song! It reminds me that one day friends from all tribes, tongues, and nations will sing before our LORD together. Perhaps we will triple clap and dance around. Perhaps we will sing in stillness or with somewhat offbeat clapping. But we will sing together... just as we were able to do in Sierra Leone.


video

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Call Me "Driver Extraordinaire"

So, I feel the need to share that-

Today I parallel parked for the first time ever! Yay! (It was a 15 - 20 point turn.) But never mind that, the important thing is- I did it!

I was in the heart of downtown Denver for my hair appointment at the Aveda Institute (great cut- 12 bucks), and I had circled about 5 blocks looking for a parking spot. I didn't want to pay for a "lot spot" since I actually had my quarters, and then I saw it. An empty space right between two cars. I have to admit I was nervous that a) I would fail or worse b) I would hit both cars in the process of failing. But I kept my cool and did it. This is a feat for me as mere days ago I made Ruth switch places with me to get into a less crowded spot.

Anyways, I am proud of myself. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There Is a Time for Traveling, There Is a Time for Reflection...


Sierra Leone to Canada. Canada to Ohio. Ohio to Denver with my wonderful sis-in-law Ruth in tow. Tomorrow will be the first day in a while we have not had company or have been traveling. It has been a full, wonderful summer, and I have that good tired feeling to prove it (as well as probably some typos in this post!). This summer though has left little time for reflection or for sharing my experiences with you. I will start tonight by sharing with you the letter I just sent out to my Salone supporters (snail mailers it will be arriving at your doorstep shortly!). I look forward to continuing to share my thoughts with you on Sierra Leone and my adventures in all my other travels. Begin reflection: check

Dear Family and Friends,
The teachers and children of Sierra Leone send their greetings! It was so good to return to my African friends and continue to teach and learn alongside them! Thank you for your support that allowed me to return.

The benefits of returning for a second year were great. From the moment we arrived, I was greeted as a friend and not as a stranger. The rapport we built last year enabled us to immediately begin working cooperatively with the teachers. I began where we stopped- filling in holes in the reading process and continuing to emphasize the importance of phonics and understanding how words work. It was an encouragement to talk to teachers who have a vision of change for the way their students are taught and who are hungry to learn all they can to raise up an educated generation. These teachers are the key to starting a process of change in Sierra Leone.

I was most blessed through my continued relationships with these teachers as well as a multitude of other nationals. In Sierra Leone, relationships are the priority above all else- you stop to talk to everyone you pass. These small moments are what stick out in my mind. Hearing Uncle Sons want his teachers to understand that all children can learn; having Aunty Miatta ask me to visit her class daily; responding to Pastor James' questions about my husband whom he remembered from last year; receiving a live chicken (a very special gift) from Aminata; hugging Amie, Janet, Christiana, Joseph, Kfala, and so many other children. These are more that life-long "padi's," or friends, since they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. When you leave Sierra Leone, the nationals will say, "We will see you next year or across the River Jordan."

Which leaves me with the question I have been turning over in my mind- what is my place in Sierra Leone? I see hope in the midst of so much pain and sorrow through these relationships that are being formed. I see change through teachers and children who are being empowered. What is my place (what is our place) in this? Is it to return again to continue the work that's been started? Is it to sponsor another child that they might receive an education? Is it to pray fervently for these people, who pray this way for me and for our country? Is it to take the lessons they continually teach me about relationships and practice them here in Denver?

I am growing and being stretched through my time in Sierra Leone and would love to talk to each of you more about my experiences there and ways to be involved. But for now, I will simply tell papa God tenki.

in Christ,

Nicole

Friday, July 3, 2009

Let's Go to Canada...

Eh?

We are off with our good friends Julie and Chase to celebrate the 4th... oh wait we're missing that! I hope to blog about Sierra Leone, but if I don't... I promise to upon my return. I'm super tired so I hope this is coherent. (Note: 4 days, 4 countries is not my best plan ever!)