In their own words--
We are back and up and at 'em! What an experience! There is soooo much to share.
We want to thank you for your prayers, love and support. We apologize for not being able to keep in contact. Unfortunately, we did not have internet hardly at all. If it came up at all it would usually come up around 10 am for a couple hours, which of course we were out and about doing other things by then. I did try the one day, but by the time I got the email typed up and addresses in it booted us off again and we couldn't get it back at all for a few days. (Problems with SIL)
Electricity was another problem. We were VERY lucky if we would have it for 12 hours. At one point we went without for 36 hours and then it came on for only one hour and 20 min. It did come on a couple hours later again for a bit. It just made life a bit more interesting! And with the time difference it was very difficult to reach someone. And calling a cell phone was out of the question, which are mostly the numbers we had of people. From what I was hearing it was quite costly. I certainly wasn't doing that unless I had to. I just surrendered to the idea God had other things he wanted us to do with our time.
Sun goes down around 6 pm and a lot of times we would loose electric shortly after. It made eating dinner and keeping food and water bottles cold a challenge at times. The neighbors had a backup generator on their fridge so we could put meat in there if we had to. It would be nice to have a schedule as to when the electric would be on or off. However, they (powers that regulate) don't seem to see it that way.
It will be good to see you all and share what God is doing in CAR and in our lives through this experience! To share briefly, Jim and Tom worked hard to make repairs to the current "garage" door and worked at getting in the second at the ICDI orphan care mission center. This was difficult with the electricity going off and on. They were needing to weld and drill metal. They did have a back up generator, but it becomes quite costly to use. It becomes very time consuming. They had success overall. Steph helped Sue with her English classes, helped in the clinic, and observed the sewing class. Jim and Tom also helped in English the one day teaching the Africans the parts of their motorcycles in English. We went to some of the orphan care weekly groups. There are 8 groups which meet various time throughout the week. We had the privilege to meet our sponsored orphan and Tom and Sue's gals in home visits. We went to the Pygmy village, saw a water well repair, a Seminary graduation, a wake, visited the "markets" and artisan shops and had opportunity, of course, to eat CAR food in some of their homes. We celebrated the 4th of July at the GBIM center with grilled chicken and a "bonfire". No fireworks though. It was relaxing, especially since we were suffering from jetlag.
It was good to meet some of the missionaries from various denominations and see the GBIM guest center and new orphan care center/school. Their new facility is wonderful! We also met many ICDI workers who are from Africa. We had opportunity to hear them share what God has laid on their hearts.
In some ways words cannot really share what we experienced. We are still sorting through some of that. We have prayer requests that we will pass on soon too from many working there. Please continue to pray for the work of God's people in CAR, the Africans who live there and their government.
Love you all,
Stephanie and Jim