Greetings from beautiful Cameroon! There is so much that goes through my mind to share, but I think I’ll give you a description of our weekly routine as it exists now.
Daily, Dasen goes into rounds with residents and surgery around 6:45 AM. I wake up slowly as he goes and then ,if all goes well, I sit out on the patio for some great bonding time with God in His Word with prayer and journaling, while viewing the beautiful terrain and eating some granola with yogurt (those are my ideal mornings and my favorite part of being here.) The kids wake around 7 to 7:30 and play, eat, and get dressed with my interaction until we start home school around 9 AM. We have a cook who makes our lunch, Janet, and a Cameroonian man, Ben, who washes our laundry by hand. Both come around 8:30 AM, so that time gets a little hectic with greetings, instructions, etc. (Janet brings her 3 mo old baby girl, Shammah, who we all hold and love on throughout the day. Her 3 other young children also come later in the day around noon or 1pm. Ben just had his 3rd child born last week and we visited their family in the health center in the neighboring town to greet and hold the baby when she was just 5 hours old.) We do home school from 9 to noon, then take a break for lunch and play. Then we re-start at 1 pm until about 2:30 or 3 pm. Home school in general is going very well, although we all have our moments. I love having a room just for home school!
Dasen usually works through lunch and comes home around 5 or so- very unpredictable. A day or 2 a week he might stop in for a quick visit between cases, and do some work with emails or help Elle with reading, which she is loving. We also have many unpredictable visitors coming in and out. Last Tuesday I had 18 visitors in 1 day, which is a bit more than usual, but never-the-less we find many missionaries who come to the hospital stop by to share a meal and say hello. We’ve gotten to know quite a few missionaries through the home school conference, and by word of mouth. We also have had local missionaries here in Mbingo to our house on a weekly basis. There are a lot of short-termers coming through, and several other couples who live here. Most weeks we’ve hosted a party on a weekend night of 10 to 16 people or so. Last week we had a Wii tournament then a prayer time. Play and Pray , or Prayer and Pizza, or Prayer and Potato Soup have been our themes. We have found one of our “secret missions” here to be offering hospitality and striving to create unity and joy among those here working.
So day by day in the afternoons and evenings we have scheduled happenings:
Mondays- 3:30 I have a prayer/discipleship group with the wives of the residents here at the house.
Tuesdays- 3:30 The girls play the violin in the children’s ward at the hospital, while my mom greets the kids, and then we close in group prayer time with the children and their families. 6 or 6:30 PM Dasen hosts the residents here for a discipleship/Bible Study time.
Wednesdays- 4pm The local kids from very close-by come to play for a couple hours. These are kids whose parents were very ill at the hospital then were given housing on the hospital grounds b/c one or both of their parents had leprosy and couldn’t provide for their families. The kids have very little materially and love to come here to play with soccer balls, basketballs, scooters, and a trampoline.
Thursdays- 1 pm I go to the surgery clinic to see patients while Dasen does lectures and gives tests to the residents. The surgery patients for the clinic don’t get scheduled so there are always people waiting to be seen. This past week I also observed Dasen doing a c-section, and we then try each week, when done with work, to go to the local “canteen” and share a pop for a little “date.”
Friday- Our one day without any plans! This week when Dasen came home we played American football in the yard with all the girls. It was surprising how much they wanted to tackle each other, but Dasen limited it to “2 Hand Touch.” We had a lot of laughs, and Elle kept running around the house with the beagle, Archer, on a leash.
Saturday- Every other weekend Dasen works both Sat and Sunday. Saturday is local market day so the girls and I often walk to the market and visit the Bardins- a wonderfully kind American missionary couple newly arrived here. Debbie Bardin offers us sweet drinks and a place to rest as it’s a mile walk to the market, then some more walking and a mile back. Today Dasen was home and I went hiking with another missionary couple, Sarah and Christof, and another short-termer, all from Switzerland. We hiked from 10:30 AM until 4:30 PM rather continuously, probably more than 12 miles or so. I felt like “This is the life for me!” I loved it- seeing waterfalls rage, balancing over stick bridges, being submerged in tropical greens, crawling over rocks and under low branches, dodging undodgable mud puddles, seeing horses run across mountainous fields, climbing over multiple fences, and observing remote African homes and fields.
Sunday- We go to the local church which is vibrant and full. It goes from about 9 to 11:30 AM and has some great singing. They love to repeat the same verses over and over much to Dasen’s chagrine, but they have great variety of rhythms for clapping. The sermons are “meaty” and meaningful. Then Sundays are family days where we try to relax some and play outside together, usually soccer or maybe now football. Then it’s usually Sunday nights in which we host parties.
All in all we are finding a rhythm to this life and are quite thankful. There are many stressors both physically and spiritually, none of which I have mentioned here. But all in all, there is clear reason to point to God and say “Thank You! For being so good and leading us here and working through us to do Your will. We are so glad to be used by You.” And we want to say “Thank You!” to our friends and supporters who are praying us through all this. God is moving in response to your prayers. Please keep it up if you are praying for us.