Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Early August update

For a quick update, we've been working the last couple weeks to get things wrapped up and tidied up at the mission house, awaiting our first overnight guests from the States. Once the ceramic was finished and the bathroom fixtures were in place upstairs,  there was a lot of touch-up painting and some heavy cleaning to do.  Barry put together a rustic little bed for the extra mattress that was purchased long ago and had previously been laid on the floor for guests to sleep on.

Things slowly came together and we're currently hosting the Zook family. The couple and their young daughter  attend church with Katie and brought her down to stay with us again. Dennis has been traveling to preach with Barry, having their first long trip together yesterday  morning.

Saturday evening we decided it would be nice to walk over to Barbancourt, our old neighborhood, and introduce the Zooks to some people. When we got to the river, which is roughly the halfway point in the back-trail, countryside hike, the sky started growing a little darker.  One of our old neighbors was upstream a hundred yards  finishing  his evening bath, and he pointed at the sky and told us we'd better start running.

We heeded his advice and picked up the pace, but it was too late. As we ascended the steep bank headed to Barbancourt, the downpour unleashed on us. In only moments the hill was too slippery to climb while holding four-year-old Abram. I slipped under the covering of a scraggly bush, trying to give him a bit of relief from the rain, since he was frightened by the sudden torrent that was so strong it was even hard to see where we were going.

As I climbed under that little plant roof and tried to keep my little guy protected from the rain, I had to think of the stories I've read about Christian refugees fleeing for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs. For a brief moment I was closer to the reality of what they must endure while living in those conditions. Am I truly thankful for the roof over our heads to keep our young children out of the elements?

Lemè, the old neighbor who had been upstream, soon came dashing along and swooped Abram up and continued on the way. Katie was carrying Bethany in the backpack and also headed up the hill to try to find better cover. Barry carried David, and Dennis had their little Elizabeth.  Bethany and Elizabeth, who were both wearing sun hats and were apparently tired of being so hot all day, both thought the unexpected shower was quite amusing.

When we finally all slipped and slided our way to Barbancourt, the first house at the end of the trail was the Saint-Hubert house, where Piker's family were all huddled on the front porch staying dry. By now our clothes were all wet enough to be wrung out, and Piker's mom wouldn't allow that for the little children. She hurried inside to rummage out towels, the smallest shirts she could find, and some of her daughter's old dresses and began helping the children get into some dry clothes. It seemed she was more than happy for the opportunity to help us out a bit.

When we're used to temperatures in the 90s, a drop down to 80, while dripping wet, really did start to feel pretty cold.  We sat on the porch and visited, bought some glass-bottle Cokes from their little store, and waited for the rain to let up. When the sun started slipping behind the trees and the rain was still falling, we knew it was quite unlikely that we'd be heading back home the same way we came, so Barry took a motorcycle taxi back to the mission house to get the truck. Although we enjoyed the visit, we were glad to see him come back so we could get home to some dry clothes.

Sunday morning, all nine of us packed into the cab of the Ranger and headed to the town of Mouri, for services at Franz's church.  It was a familiar scene again, as the older folks nodded in agreement while the younger crowd did their best to giggle off the conviction, lest it settle too deeply into their hearts.