Wednesday, March 28, 2018

In the Lord's ditch

We were taking an evening prayer walk around our compound, and we heard Mariama, who is often exploring some fantastically exciting leaf or blade of grass, singing cheerfully as she climbed out of a grassy ditch, "I am in the ditch, I am in the ditch, I am in the ditch of the Lord." She repeated the refrain quite melodically several times, before Zach and I joined in heartily.

Thank you, Mariama, for that inspired masterpiece.  That is just how I feel and I didn't know how to put it!  I wrote about "small buckets" when I was pregnant with Mariama. Now I feel like the "buckets" in my left and my right hands are not only huge, but numerous!  It's not that they've grown, necessarily, but that everything seems heavy and the demands plentiful.

Returning to Nigeria with our new little charge, Lydia, I was determined to "be more selective" and "say 'no' more often." But there is so much water in this ditch, and I just need more buckets to heave it out!  Here is a sample of a few buckets we are hauling around here...some quite literally.

Bucket 1:  Lydia.  She is soon to be 5 months. Thankfully she is a good sleeper...during the day...and enjoys being held and talked to by...anybody! She also doesn't coo...she shouts with a much lower pitched voice than her elder sister.  Smiles are plentiful and  always given with a wide, toothless mouth.

Bucket 2: Mariama. Mariama is going to be 3 years old in July.  She will tell you she's homeschooled because every child here her age is in school.  Most mornings "homeschool" includes two hours of Mariama time.  We do our "School chart," watch an educational PBS science video while I do her hair, read some books, and a number of other activities depending on the day including making yogurt, making bread, cutting and pasting paper, painting, and riding her bike!

Bucket 3: Daso.  A lovely 12 year old, Daso is a big help with Mariama and Lydia when she's home from school and done with her homework.  Zach does an hour of math with her most days, which has proved to be very rewarding. She is full of questions and is learning a lot about her faith, being kind to those who are unkind, and she wants to become.

Bucket 4: Beautiful Me.  (A previous post on Bme) We had our last official meeting for this group of young ladies on Saturday, the 24th of March.  We will host a talent show and film show on the 27th of April as one more opportunity for the girls and their moms to have fun together. The girls will be preparing a dance to the song "Gold" by Brit Nicole on our theme of being beautiful inside and out.  I have taken on this challenge of being a mom who connects with my tween girl on different levels.  What we are asking mothers to do is something totally new to them. Oh, how we pray that the time spent with them will bear fruit in their lives, making their walk with their girls more joyful and carry a greater impact.

Bucket 5: Children's Bible Study.  There are now 6 adult teachers and 6 young people who are learning to be leaders for the children's Bible study on Thursday at our church.  50 children is the average on a Thursday evening where these teachers are mentoring and loving children to Jesus.  We are praying for a window of opportunity to train the new young members of the team (including Daso) who are eager to lead.

Bucket 6: Training. I have been invited to teach storying, children's Scripture engagement, and family prayers (devotions) to a group of students from TCNN (Theological College of Northern Nigeria) for the Scripture Engagement class.  This is one of the reasons I wanted to get my masters degree, so I could work with students from this institution.  I was also asked to train a group of colleagues on a curriculum for engaging children with Scripture. (Where it began)  We pray that we will be used by God to help communities invest in their children in a new way in the mother tongue.

Bucket 7: Food preparation. I spend about 5-6 hours a day preparing food for my family. In fact, I should wrap this up so that can happen!

Please pray with us that the little buckets of our every day would make a big impact in the Kingdom of God, and that we would not grow weary in doing well...especially in the Lord's ditch.

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