Thursday, April 21, 2011

A ship on rough seas

So what’s up? It seems like time flies here. And no one else in our family blogs, or even uses the computer much, so I guess it is up to me to keep you all up to date best I can. If you want to chat with Paul though- he loves to skype and talk to people in person, so set it up!

Bennett has begun to really enjoy writing and reading. He loves school so much. We are thankful for that. Arielle loves her friends at school and getting dressed up. She doesn’t seem interested in writing anything, but there is still lots of time!

I made from scratch brownies with Bennett this weekend. He loved every step and was super excited. When the finished product came out of the oven he tasted his, then threw it in the garbage. He said to me "Mom, You know I don't even really like chocolate anyways". WHAT! How can this be my flesh and blood! Good thing Arielle and I aren't too proud to eat his share :)


Paul is really busy with the shop and with language learning. Quite often the two go hand in hand now. He is helping a group of young kids learn to make a set for a school play out of metal. He is teaching our day guard to use tools and make his own bed frame. He is still building the roof structure for our Girls School. Busy man. We can see such an amazing work in this new Vocational training program, and already see the need for a business type manager to help us with all the business end that we are not gifted in! Any takers? Also- we really need someone to help him plan curriculum for next year. So ALL YOU TRADES MEN if one of you has worked with apprentices in the past or taught at a trades school, we would love to see if you could help Paul plan!


A group of women in Niamey got together for a quilting seminar. While I already know how to quilt, it was great to come along for ideas! I I enjoyed the company of the other women and worked out a few project ideas we are going to use at the Girls at Risk School this Fall. Also, I got to work on a baby quilt, well two actually- for two special babies being born into our family in the next few months! And now with news I have another new nephew or niece on the way- I better get quilting! It tends to be a good relaxing time to work on a project, so I need to make more time for creative things like this!

The finished quilt before it was mailed off.


In other news….well I found out my brother and his wife are having another baby! Yay! Also means one more birth, baby shower and newborn I won’t get too see. Too many of those lately. Being so far away for so many big events for our family is hard. I have a new respect for all those international workers I heard about while growing up and over the years. I know how hard it is to be so far away, and they didn’t even have the blessing of Skype to keep in touch!

Mostly, I will be honest, I have just been really stressed lately. More than I can remember ever being in fact. There is so much need here, so much work to do, so many people who count on us. And I love my work, these girls and can see so much how God desires their lives to be whole. But at what point do i need to let go and chill? There is so much more to be done than I am physically capable of, or emotionally capable of, that I feel burnt out. No surprise to those who know me well and know Paul and I only know one speed- full speed ahead.

I have appreciated the words of care and wisdom I have received from some of you these past weeks. We want to do the best we can to ensure our situation is as sustainable as we can make it, barring outside crazy factors we can’t control. Praying and looking hard for those hidden gems and peaceful times. When our batteries are almost empty, even a weekend away only seems to fill them up to 40%.


When looking forward to planning for next year, I find myself uncertain. As of yet we don’t have an intern in place to replace the (obviously irreplaceable) Rebecca, who is a huge help to me at the school and invests deeply in some of the girls. We have also learned in the past little bit (and can now share it with you freely) that the other half of the Tuareg focused team (The Marineaus who were in Quebec for the year on furlough) will not be returning to Niger. So this leaves us as the only family on this side of the team for the moment and that is a scary thought with all that was planned to be at least two families wide and our desire to work on community with others. We will miss them dearly. I am not sure how to do this sometimes. I trust God has a plan and know I need to rely more deeply on Him.

As my best friend reminded me today:

Isaiah 58:11: And the LORD will guide you continually

and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters do not fail.


Joëlle said...

Salut Chantelle!
C'est toujours un plaisir de te lire. Tes récits et réflexions sont vraiment très inspirants, et c'est agrémenté de si jolies photos! Merci de ce temps que tu prends pour "réflécrire" (réfléchir+écrire). Ça me garde connectée sur ce Niger que j'aime tant! Gardez courage, mes amis, surtout avec la chaleur! :)

Angela said...

Lifting you up to our Father...Thankful for your honesty and praying with expectancy.