Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter Blessings

Happy Easter everyone,
We are humbled and grateful
for the sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour.
We pray this Easter will be a special time to pause
and recognize this amazing gift we are offered.
CULTURE NOTE . . .
Tsoho = old man            Tsohowa = old man        
wife = uwargida         husband = miji or mai gida
Both expressions are a sign of respect here in Niger.
When we make inquiries as to the name of our students’ spouse it becomes interesting.  One man in language class could not remember his wife’s name, despite being married to her for 7 years.  One lady struggled to speak her husband’s name.
When teaching language, we need to be aware of these various cultural norms.   Here one never speaks their mother’s name.  And if a peer happens to have the same name as your mother, you would call her translated “like my mother” rather than call her by her proper name.

It is fun explaining that when we are speaking to one another and using the other person’s name, in our culture that is respect.  And to call a person in the English world, old man or old woman is also disrespectful.  We have these interesting discussions as we teach about our culture, not for them to necessarily use it, but for them to understand us when we interact with one another.

WEATHER . . .
It is warming up again.  The transition has happened quickly. Power outages are reoccurring now.  Once again no access to city water most of the day.  No problem, we have a well now.

HEALTH . . .
Praise that we are both feeling better.  Orest has removed bananas from his diet and he feels so much better. I saw a doctor in Galmi and received treatment for arthritis that I did not know I had.  Pain free is so nice after 8 months.  We are both able to sleep better and feel more productive.

SUMMER SCHOOL VACATION and DVB . . .
We are considering running a week-long DVBS program in English for the children attending our English classes, teaching songs, games and Bible lessons in English.  This is in the early development stage.  We are hoping to recruit the help of a number of young people to help us, who are excellent in Hausa and English.

APPROACHING EASTER . . .
Once again we are planning to host a Seder at our home for our missionary colleagues. The week prior to Easter is spring break from school. Due to the second run-off election, schools will be closed a few days sooner because the schools are the voting locations. Our children will come for Easter weekend.

ESL . . .
This morning one of our Hausa students (35 years old) stopped by the house to say she was off to the market to purchase food for the church celebration tomorrow.  Why would this be significant?  This is the first time she has been trusted with this task.  This is the first time she has been able to read the grocery list of items for the food preparation.  A moment of celebration occurred and giving God the praise.  She is so happy and proud of her achievement.  Thank you for participating in bring dignity to this woman.  A highlight in each lesson in the devotional Orest prepares.  He encourages the students to reflect and give responses.  The common practice is to be preach to and not to engage in individual reflection, so this is challenging and an enriching experience for them.

ANSWERED PRAYER . . .
When S. came to stay at the safe house, her sister in law removed her children from the private Christian school they had been attending for the past 3 years.  This happened on a Sunday morning.  The church was mobilized to pray for the situation. The next day her ex-husband told his sister to return the children to the school.  The place they were staying was under the supervision of a Pastor.   Having learnt that S. is now a sister in Christ, he has assured her that her children would now be considered his children since they are now brother and sister.  Praise God.

GETTING HELP . . .
We were happy to be able to hire two young men from the church to help around the house last Saturday afternoon.  The ceiling fans are positioned rather high up and beyond our reach with extension tools and step stool.  We were grateful to get the fans and windows all clean.  Windows need to be removed and cleaned very quickly then returned so that unwelcome critters don’t enter the house.  As it is we have been trying to catch 2 mice which took the opportunity to take up residence.  One down, one to go.

OUR FAMILY . . .
Our family has expanded to include a young girl call Barra.  She is about 11 years old.  Her family is of another faith mixed with other activities.  Barra was no longer wanted by this family, including grandparents, so she found her way into Sani and Saratou’s care.  She had been emotional and mentally scarred because of events when living with her family.  She has now had the opportunity to have access to some healing ministries and we are happy to report she is now peaceful and happy.  She has given her life to Christ and become part of the group of peers at church.  I have taken the time to make a few items of clothing for her, as her own clothes were in tatters.

WOMEN'S PRISON . . .
We continue to visit regularly. During this past week many of the children had a black streak of makeup on their foreheads.  During the visit they pulled out the eyeliner they use.  Putting eye liner on babies and young children is common practice to make them more attractive.  However, this eyeliner was a black dollop in plastic wrap with an application stick.  They explained this product was made from the residue of burnt car tire rubber. It’s cheap and it’s all they could afford.
May the blessings of the Lord guide you,
protect you and be with you on Easter and always.
Grace & Orest Pelech