Thursday, July 18, 2013

They Returned! July 17 update...

Our tired mission team returned safely to San Diego last night.  It was wonderful to see them all again. A few of them shared their thoughts about being home...
Catie: I got home from another amazing trip to Cameroon last night. As nice as it was sleeping in my own bed, I'm ready to go back already. Three weeks really does go way too fast.
Sharayah: I'm back home and rested from our long trip back from Cameroon and I already miss it. I loved being able to go back this year to make even more meaningful relationships! I can't believe how much work we did and how much fun we had. I will never forget this trip and cannot wait to go back!
Katie:  I feel the urge to talk to people in what French I know.... Yup, I'm back home now. Missing Cameroon lots and lots! Three weeks goes by in a flash, but it was three weeks spent with twelve people in a wonderful place! So blessed to have had such a great opportunity! :) 

This is what The Beard Diaries post is all about

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Traveling Home...July 16

Our Mission Team is making its way home.  
Louise received the following text messages from our travelers: 
"We arrived safely in Yaounde.  Nothing exciting to report..."  
"We ate at Hilton.  Yummy! Don't  know if I'll have a chance to send other texts because of getting on plane today.  If not, see you soon!"
Beckie later reported that she received a phone call from Mitch at 10:13 a.m. and that the Cameroon travelers were all checked in at the gate and ready to board their flight to Brussels.  It is a 12 hour or so flight.
The team is scheduled to arrive in San Diego at 7:37 p.m. on Wednesday (7/17). It is great fun to greet them as they arrive.  If you want to join in the fun, contact Mindy in the church office or on her cell phone.  Blessings! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 13 Update from Joan...

The Internet is back working again. 
    Friday we practiced in the morning and then after lunch we got ready for the concert. The concert was great. We did 5 songs together (some French and some in English, then we sang 4 songs that came off well, and they sang 4 songs that were incredible and we ended with 2 songs together.  It was very well received and they thanked up profusely during the concert.
    Stefan and Phil, the station master, made a 4 foot by 6 foot cross for the church that is beautiful. They hung it this morning so that it, the stained glass windows, and new pews will all be ready for Sunday.
    We had some change in travel plans.  Pr. Luther and Caroline did go to Yaounde today via bus so at Caroline could see her dad before she leaves.  We were going to take the bus on Monday, but after phone calls from them, we are back on the train on Sunday night.  Pr. Luther and Caroline won't arrive in Yaounde until 4 or 5 am because the bus was over 3 hours late leaving.  Please pray for them as they will be on the bus until about 8 or 9 pm Saturday in California.
    Tomorrow we will go to Church and then finish packing and cleaning up to catch the train about 7pm.
    Thanks for all of your prayers people's colds are mending.  Please pray the colds are gone by the time we get on the plane Tuesday.
Love, Joan

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 10 Update from Catie...

 Progress on the benches is going very well. We have finished sanding and assembling all of them and the church is looking awesome! We've been practicing for our concert tomorrow where we will perform 7 songs with the choir and 4 on our own. Tomorrow Eli, Stefan, and Trevor will be going with Josepha to buy bread for the group of orphans we met on Tuesday. We look forward to the concert and sharing that experience with you. We look forward to seeing you all in about a week!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9 Update from Elias...

Today we started installing the stained glass windows. After some sanding/cutting, they are beginning to fit. We have made great progress sanding the boards that will eventually be assembled into benches. Altogether, there is about a kilometer of wood. It's a lot of work, but we're excited to finish as quickly as possible and so are all of the church members who have been working with us.

We've also been practicing with the choir, which has been a lot of fun. Today we rehearsed for our concert on Friday, and we are really excited. Mixing the two groups' chemistry, dance moves, and musical talents is the best part. We have a consensus that Stefan is one of the hottest guy's on the dance floor...judging by the amount of sweat.

This morning a local artist named Josepha introduced us to a group of about 25 orphans. For the past 3 years, Josepha has bought the orphans breakfast (3 times per week). This past week, he's been helping us to design and color the stained glass windows.  It was a truly humbling experience that makes you appreciate how much we have and take for granted.  It raised several questions among the group of how we could help.  However, all we have are questions for a problem which seems like there is no hope of ever solving.  Perhaps we could help on an individual level for a brief period of time, but there is no guarantee that they would accept our help. We hope to find some avenue of support for these kids as the week progresses. All we know is that we will never forget what we saw.

We miss you all! Goodnight!

And in our down-time...Trevor Goes to the Forest

It has been a fortnight since we last communicated. We tried to send photos by messenger pigeon, but alas, they are extinct. We have since discovered gold, or have we? The living are still in good health. We have resorted to rationing our cabbage as we do not have the preservation tools to dig up fossils. Trevor has caught gangrene, and we were forced to chop off his left foot. In a fit of rage, he also cut off his right ear-- we think for balance. we however, are unsure of the purpose. He now speaks in tongues. We are sure he is in the forest. Katie Sauer's hair has grown to twice the length of Rapunzel's in a matter of hours because she has offended the sensibilities of the fragile Pastor Luther. (Side note: Pastor Luther is in to voodoo). Sedona continues to destroy whatever she touches. We don't let her touch us. Unfortunately, Catie was touched by Sedona and has since begun destroying things herself. There are several pieces of the moldy car that are missing. Scott fell into the river and was eaten by piranhas. Fortunately we have kept his head alive in a jar. The jar is missing. We think Trevor took it with him into the forest. Mitch, owing to his fascination with vampires, has become one. He is slightly more allergic to garlic. His tan has not improved. Sharayah has found true love in a pygmy named Milo. He has two glass eyes. Though they don't speak the same language, they find common ground in table tennis and a hatred of feet. Maria has realized a passion for wrestling crocodiles. Stefan was adopted by a family of wolves. The last time we saw him, he was on a spit being prepared for a barbecue. He looked tender. Caroline lost all her teeth in a freak gasoline fighting accident. Surprisingly she was not burned, but unfortunately she has the black lung. Joan ran off with a herd of giraffes. We are not sure if she mistaken them for people, or if they mistaken her for a giraffe. After inhaling copious amounts of Sharpie fumes from making stainglass windows, Elias has gone mad and started to see things. He is modeling for local artists.
Written by Scott's head in a jar.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Beard Diaries: Cameroon

Nearly a week has past since I awoke in, what I've come to learn as, Africa. As the days pass and a I grow stronger, I continue to adapt to the culture here as well as my place in this situation. The language remains a mystery to me, as I have only known one my whole life. As such, communicating has been the main barrier between myself and the community around me. There are only a few amongst the thirteen humans that truly understand my struggle. I have met several like me in the surrounding African community, though most continue to reject my kind. During the first few days of my consciousness, I came to realize that my host has been tasked with creating works of art on clear pieces of material. Another like me also has a a host who would create similar works. He has become my dear friend and, perhaps, my only friend. Though we cannot communicate directly, it is clear that he shares the same desires of freedom and a voice of our own. Yet another grows amongst the thirteen humans, though his survival is not certain. The constant struggle against the machines that continually "cut us down to size" (as the humans say) is shared betwixt every budding member of my small family.
My host has never beheld something as I am. Because of his unfamiliarity with our kind, he has struggled to cope with the burden that we often times present upon our births. Long fleshy limbs, attached to a larger mechanism which controls their movement, run over top and between my being. The majority of the contact between my host and I have been civil. Though my occasional protest has prompted the limbs he possesses to hard and rake them across my back. The feeling is quite unpleasant, and I have refrained from continuing such actions. The thought of creating such an itch has all but left my thoughts entirely. Our relationship has grown considerably more friendly as the days have passed, and what was once a great burden has become a partnership that has been beneficial to us both. The humans are not always as appreciative towards me, as they have been towards the others like me, as I have a genetic disability that hinders my growth. One day I may still reach my full potential, if my host approves of my continued existence.
Africa seems, to me, to accept my existence on several different levels. The local community hosts many of us in varying shapes and sizes. Though they do not let us reach our fullest potential. This is most likely due to preconceptions that have held down the progress of our societies since the invention of the multi-leveled cutting machines. Such advances in human technology will obviously prevent many of us from reaching our full potential. There have even been rumors of a device that whirs and roars as it cuts down my brothers and sisters. I, however, do not fully believe that such a device exists. Such a monstrous contraption can only be the creation of Satan himself.
I do miss my family. The longing to be near them once again has prompted this daring endeavor of putting pen to page while my host slumbers. He sleeps often, though it appears that many of the human hosts harbor the same thoughts of rest. As a people we are not known to rest often. Instead we spend our days drawing nutrients covertly from our hosts. I suppose if they knew how we used the waters and oils to build ourselves up, they would permit even fewer of us to exist. It has been a long while since my family and I were parted. The blades of those dastardly machines swept away my wife, my love, my life. Alas, it is a cruel and cold world without her touch. The hope that one day our paths may come back together keeps my heart beating and my spirits high. Though I live in constant fear that my host may soon muster the courage to follow through with my destruction. I fear the same for my beloved wife as well. But I must remain strong and have faith that she is safe somewhere far away. We will be reunited, my beloved Safira.
My host stirs during his slumber. This motion often means that I must be still and wait until he falls still once more. I will continue to write this, my journal, my story. Until I am able to put pen to page once more, I wish you well. Pray for my continued survival.
Scott's Beard

July 7 Update from Sedona!!!

We took Eman, the little boy with the injured leg, to the hospital yesterday to change his bandages. He is doing well.
The inside of the new church we've been working on has been painted. The stain glass windows are finished and set to be installed asap. We also plan on starting the bench-making project which will demand first the sanding of the wood, followed by assembly.
We look forward to putting on a concert in the church this coming Friday. We have been learning a lot of French from the people we are working with. Today, we sang with Burkina's choir. We sang two of their songs and two of our songs (Counting on God and You are Glory). We processed into the church with We are Walking (Marching) in the Light of God. We had a feast for Pastor Luther's birthday. Beards are growing nicely; even Mr. Steller has joined in. Pastor Luther fears he will never catch up. We hope everyone enjoyed July 4th-- the fireworks.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 3 update from Katie...

Hiya everyone!! Hope all is well back in the states! Everything's going great over here! 
Our work has progressed wonderfully - we've been able to continue our work on the church in Burkina in many ways. In order to paint, we need to first clean, so sanding the doors and windows has been our first order of business. It's been a great time so far! I've really enjoyed being able to help the church! Also, we've recently made the decision to finish off the church by supplying new seating for about 1200 people by building benches. Thank you so much to everyone that has supported us in any way! I've been able to see the differences your support has made to the lives of the people here, and it's incredible! I'm eager to see how the church will be when our project has finished.
We have made a new friend! In Burkina, there's a small boy, looks about 9 years old. He, as I hear, approached the group on the first day at the church working and gave them hugs. (I was back at the house resting, getting over a tummy bug.) He's been there with us every day, and I have also gotten to spend some time with him. He's pretty adorable, too! Unfortunately, he's got a sore on his leg that looks rather painful, so we've made sure he'll be taken care of by taking him to the hospital tomorrow to get all checked out. Oh, and I've attached a picture of Sedona and him as well!

Lastly, I will say that we all will be singing for the church on Sunday! Since Stefan and Scott both brought guitars, we're going to share with Cameroonians some American music! The choir of the church taught us a song in French, and we've taught them some American songs. It should be quite the service! They all sure know how to dance! It's been great to see how the relationship between us and the choir has grown through the practices we've had every day, and I'm eager to see how it will continue to grow! :)
The work that we've been able to do, and the lives that have already been changed shows me that God's love is everywhere. It's really incredible! I'm so thankful I've been able to come, and I'm excited for what is to come in the coming days here! Love you all and miss you lots!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2 update from Catie...

On Saturday at approximately 6pm we boarded the Camrail train for Ngaoundere. We arrived at approximately 8am the next morning (approximately 14 hours later). We were immediately whisked off to a new church in Burkina where we are currently working. Four of our group have started stained glass for the church, and the remaining 7 are painting the interior. We were very smelly. Trevor is tired. In the coming weeks, we will be collaborating with Burkina's choir. Today, they taught us a few dances (only truly mastered by Stefan) and a few of their songs. On Sunday, we will be participating in the worship service.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

6/29 Update...

The team met Caroline's family.  In this picture is  her niece Reine with Pastor Luther.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Africa Mission Team Arrived!

From Caroline:
My trip went OK and my family is doing alright. The whole group is doing OK although they are still having a hard time to deal with the time difference, but uncle Mitch, Stefan and Katie Sauer are already adapting themselves very well. Here are some pics. I will try to send you more later. Bye! Love and miss you guys so much!

From Elias:
We arrived yesterday at about 7pm and got to our hotel about an hour later. Everyone is doing well. The hotel is looking very nice so far- no mice, no roaches! Everyone seems normal, except for Stefan, Maria, and Sedona who are all still weird. Or maybe they're normal, and the rest of us are weird? Anyway, we hope everyone is doing well back home. We will probably be taking the train (to Ngaoundéré) on Saturday evening.
Eli and the rest