Africa Journal: Day 9 – January 4, 2009

From my journal:

“On the road to Bangassi.  Left Sebekoro today, but before we did we received the blessing from the chief … we were ‘given the road’ (meaning we were free to leave).  Also, the chief gave us all African names before we left.  Mine is Sidi Fofana.  I was actually named after the chief’s first grandson, which was quite an honor.

It could be a long night, because we aren’t scheduled to arrive in Bangassi until after dark . . . they figured about an 8 hour drive.  Once we get there, we’ll have to greet the chief and receive permission to be in and stay in the village before we can set up camp or anything.  God, I pray for the Fulanke people that we will minister to during this week of our trip.  I pray for salvations and for the message to land on soil that is ready to produce a harvest for Your glory!”

This was my entire entry for the day b/c I tried to “write” while we were on the road, and that wasn’t an easy task.  This was a long day, and if you are following along, I mentioned yesterday that it was the beginning of a difficult 24 hours for me.  This trip was exhausting.  We left from Sebekoro pretty early in the day, and one of my responsibilities on the trip was to oversee the preparations/packing to travel, so I needed to make sure that we had all the tubs, and that everything was packed and tied down okay, etc.  When I woke up that morning, I went into pack mode, and didn’t spend time with the Lord before we left We drove the first 2 hours through the “bush roads” which were not roads at all.  Then the next 3 hours or so were actually on the paved road.  We stopped at one point for lunch and to make phone calls back to our home churches for a check-in … hopefully some of you were able to hear from us when we phoned in!  And spent the last 3 hours on more “bush roads”  … they were SOOO bumpy, and our van was so packed , it was uncomfortable!  That being said, I had attempted to read my Bible for a while on the road, but started to get a headache.

SO, by the time we got to Bangassi, it was well passed dark, we were all tired and hungry, had to wait to get permission to stay in the village, and I was in a bad mood.  My bad mood turned into “victim syndrome”  I felt like everything someone was saying or doing was a direct slam at me … I felt like none of my thoughts were being heard, and that everyone else was “out for me”  SO, I went and found a quiet corner and sat in the shadows so I couldn’t be seen and had some prayer time . . . and you know what I realized?  None of that stuff that I thought was reality.  Reality was that I was tired: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  So, I ate dinner, made my bed and went to bed, tomorrow would be a new day!

I do have to rewind though and share a crazy story from our trip to Bangassi.  In Mali there are checkpoints on the highway that distinguish different territories.  It would be like us passing from one county into another.  Well each of those checkpoints are run by local government, so they have the ability to govern it however they see fit.  Well, at this particular checkpoint, our driver got out to show our papers and our log, and all of the sudden we heard arguing, and it began to get heated quickly.  It came to a point where the guard actually sent another guard to go get handcuffs, they were going to arrest our driver, and we weren’t going to get to Bangassi, or so I thought.  Enter, Lamine.  Lamine was our other driver, and was also helping with some of our water filter projects.  This guy has the BEST personality of anyone I have ever met.  He connected with EVERYONE.  As we started to pray in the van for God to cover the situation, Lamine walked over to see what was going on, and no joke, within 5 seconds of Lamine getting there, the yelling stopped, and within 30 seconds, they had turned from yelling to laughing!  Turns out that the guard saw all of our tubs/luggage and a van full of white folk and thought he could get away with asking for money for us to get through.  Well, Lamine apparently got him “talked down” and told Randy that they were asking for the equivalent of 4 US dollars to get through the gate.  Randy said he would give them the $4 if he could give them a Bible too.  The crazy part was that the guard was SO grateful and excited to receive the Bible.  God is SO faithful!

What started out as a potentially scary situation turned out to be a great opportunity to share the word of God!


Packing the bush bus:img_0284

Lunch on the road to Bangassi:



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