Thursday, May 12, 2011

We're back!

We have not updated our blog in “forever” because the banana boat has been in the water and on the move again. We spent 6 months in Texas for our off field assignment (used to be known as furlough.) We enjoyed being back in the states. We enjoyed Mexican food, and chocolate chip cookies! We enjoyed seeing our families for the holidays for the first time in several years. We also enjoyed riding horses, going to the rodeo and riding wave runners! Also during the summer we had the opportunity to do the missions camp in Lueders, TX. This is the same camp where Tiffne went as a child and asked Jesus into her heart – so it was a real joy to get to be at this camp as the camp missionaries.

We enjoyed visiting churches and talking about the work that God is doing around the world to reach the people who have not heard about him. We visited our church in San Francisco, California. It was so great to be back in this really cool city and to reconnect with our good friends there. We had the opportunity to visit the homeless soup kitchen. Megan, Cade, and Dylan helped prepare the silver ware and napkins while Tiffne stirred the huge pot of soup. Every year 19th Ave. Baptist Church has a “church of the nations” picnic where each of the different language congregations get together to share food and fun. It is such a great experience to try foods from China, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Japan, along with hamburgers and hotdogs. This year the biggest attraction was the Mongolian wrestling!! Wow!

After off field assignment, the banana boat headed back to Spain! And we hit the ground running. Our church in Almeria, Spain did a great job ministering to the African immigrants in our absence and their work continues… be sure to click on “Thoughts Along the Way” to read about Norma’s story and ministry.

Orange Hands

One Sunday this month was the Senegalese festival of Touba. It is a Muslim religious festival. We went over to Ndeye’s house that morning to help with the cooking. The ladies were making cheb o gin, rice with fish. I peeled so many carrots that my hands turned orange. Then later when we were eating this delicious dish, I ate with my hand, just like all of the Senegalese women around me, and again my hands were orange from the yummy sauce. Then the ladies began cooking the next dish in huge pots over the fire in Ndeye’s garage. It was an amazing day, helping them cook, taking the huge dishes of food to the festival, listening to the men sing, visiting with the women while we cooked, speaking to folks in 6 different languages. I just know the greetings in most of them, but I enjoy seeing their faces light up when they are greeted in their home language.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently read a book about a missionary who took “pineapple chutney” and the gospel to Japan. This gave me the idea – for my favorite thing – to “bring” chocolate chip cookies and the gospel to our friends here in Spain. So we have served chocolate chip cookies at “ladies class” and “kids’ club” as well as shared them with Ndeye and her family. It is fun to tell our immigrant friends from Africa of the customs that we have in America in my family. When my family gets together we almost always have chocolate chip cookies as a part of the celebration. So we have enjoyed sharing that with our friends here in Southern Spain who are also away from their families. In the past I have had to have chocolate chips mailed to me because they didn’t have them here in Spain – but just recently I found some – that are very similar to the ones we use in Texas – not exactly the same but they will do in a pinch. The flour here is also a little different – so sometimes I use my flour that I brought from the states. The girls from kid’s club and the women from “ladies class” want to learn how to make “chocolate chip cookies” from America. J

The Pancake Gang

Recently we had a great team come from Blue Springs, MO. God did amazing things through this team. One door that God blasted open was the door to Megan, Cade, and Dylan’s school. We have wanted to do something in their school for 4 years and God opened the door for us to serve American pancakes while this team was in Spain. We served pancakes to about 250 students; including entertainment, with “the pancake song,” flipping pancakes across the room and catching them on a plate! This team helped fit the ladies from the “ladies class” and a few others with reading glasses. They also provided hair cuts and manicures for the “ladies in waiting.” We also shared the gospel and gave out MP3 players in Romanian. During “ladies class” and “kids club” the ladies taught each group how to make American chocolate chip cookies, with chocolate chips and flour from the states. The children at “kids club” also enjoyed the Easter story, along with Easter crafts, dying Easter eggs, and an Easter egg hunt. This team also had the opportunity to assist Segunda in paying a house tax. Segunda also prayed and asked Jesus into her heart during this time.

Banana Boat Prayer Requests

· Please continue to pray that the people who received glasses will have open eyes and hearts to the truth of a personal God.

· Pray for the ladies from the ladies class who received glasses and heard the gospel. Pray for Beatrice and her husband as we hope to begin discipleship with them.

· Please pray for the “ladies in waiting” who heard the gospel and who received the Bible in Romanian on MP3 players. Pray that they would want to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Pray for Laura, Victoria, and Miheala. Pray for Janette as she returns to Romania; that she might find a different type of work. Pray for Maria who is interested in Bible study. Pray for Miheala (from our church) who will lead a Bible study.

· Please pray for the children who heard the Easter story at kids club. Pray that they would understand about a living Savior.

· Pray for the young men in Mojonera. Pray for Nguy that he would understand more about who Jesus really is and how to know him personally. Pray for Ruben as he visits the guys in Mojonera.

· Please continue to pray for Ndeye and her family. Pray for her younger son. Pray that the Holy Spirit would call her to a personal relationship with God.

· Thank you for praying for Segunda: she prayed to receive Christ as her Savior! Please continue to pray for her as we follow up with discipleship.

1 comment:

melanie swan said...

Tiff - Reading this post made me smile as I recalled your love of chocolate chip cookies. I'm so glad to know you, Joel, and the kids are all well, and that you enjoyed some time back here in the States. It is evident that your beautiful family is a great blessing to others. Many prayers for you all....

Much love,
melanie (barry) swan