Archive for February, 2010

Morning at Hade Te Yo


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a watercolor

I did this watercolor 2 weekends ago during my retreat at the Kennell’s house. Blue is said to symbolize the Holy Spirit, so take that how you will… While I didn’t really paint feet, there was a space for the feet that I apparently cut off in the photographing-oops.

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Open the Heavens

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1

“The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season…” -Deuteronomy 28:12

Two nights ago I stood with Sarah on our roof watching the lightning. We faced a dense breeze watching a display of glory. The lightning alone was novel, but when it started raining I thought I would burst with wonder, laughter and tears all at once.  This land here in Togo, and my body along with it, has been drier than I’ve ever experienced before. It has not rained since October. My eyes, skin, hair, feet, hands and throat have felt the effects building up over these last few months. The air has been thick with dust so that we breathe and taste it.  The dryness is not a painful trial, only something that is kind of wearing over several months. The landscape is another world from the lush green it was at our arrival. I felt almost a companionship with the dirt itself looking up to the sky soaking up the pleasure of those first drops. We stood on the roof  for nearly an hour mostly in silence, and occasionally singing worship songs that came to mind, or wondering aloud at the awesome strangeness. I’ll never read the verses in the Bible which talk about God being like refreshing rain to a dry land the same way again. The applications to our spiritual lives are deep and wide, and I’m glad to have a new way of knowing who God is, even if it means having dry skin.

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Chronicles of a Weekend

This weekend the team is going on Safari while I have an isolated personal retreat at the Kennell house, who have graciously offered me their home and their internet. While they sit in the car for 6 hours, get really dirty and see African animals, I am letting my back heal and doing the following:


Watching House and doing an initial sweep of facebook, email and friend’s blogs.

Reminising over pictures. Nearly every one of my 52 facebook albums.

Good talk with my sister on skype, then my mom.

Work on a a watercolor painting.

A short nap.

Jumping on the trampoline. A neighbor got a kick out of seeing my head popping up behind the wall of the Kennell’s yard. Then I climbed a tree. Equally shocking to the neighbors, no doubt.

Long bath while reading of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Supper of rice and chickpea curry mix that Leanne sent me in a package. Yummy!

Chatting with good friends online and more watercolor!

Time in the Word.


Village church with the Emersons, then we gave some Kabiye Christians a ride to help prepare for someone’s funeral. It is funeral season. They have a season to celebrate and commemorate everyone who has died that year. Or it may be every few years. ??

Lunch at Moroq’s, yummy pizza! Thanks again to the Emerson’s for taking me.

Watercolor painting.

Taking a walk to school house to meet April and fold sheets. Took a wrong turn on the way, but got oriented again. I have a hopelessly faulty sense of direction.

Oil painting.

Talkingto my brother on skype. He was on his way to Covenant, my church in Searcy.

More oil painting to great music in Mark Kennell’s fanstasic little studio.

Lots of crying. This was sparked by, but not really because of, listening to the song “He’s Always Been Faithful” by Sarah Groves. So good.

Lovely bath. Nightynight.


Painting, sweeping, singing, trying to coax the dog to eat. He misses his family. 😦

Another good nap. I dreamed I was in this elaborate game where I had to find my way around a warehouse speaking only spanish to people I came across.

The weekend was peaceful and renewing. I wasn’t ready for it to end. Thank you God for such a perfect time of rest and refreshment.

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At the recent ladies retreat in Kabiye Land.

This is also during a break.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever! This is Jacque and I with our French teacher, Essowe. She's fantastic and ended up leading several discussions at the retreat.

This is Joanna, Essowe's very cute baby daughter.

Nicole Kennell with a small group I was part of.

Too classic to resist posting.

I recently learned this Kabiye word, which means “Amen!” It is a perfect response and summary to the setting in which I learned it.

A gathering of women communed under two broad mango trees to share in the worship, study, and fellowship of those who share Christ. Although they came from a number of different villages, miles apart, they are one in the Spirit. They had pushed narrow bench/desks together in the dirt from the nearby village school house. This was the yearly ladies retreat planned by and for the Kabiye women of the many churches the missionaries have helped start.

I was privileged to attend part of the ladies’ retreat two weekends ago. With mountains in the distance, long grasses half covering a mud hut or two and a sprinkling of reminders of being in Africa I felt a surreal awe. Strong clear voices of dozens of Kabiye women rose together to praise Jesus in beautiful enthusiastic rhythms. I’ve worshipped with Africans in village settings before, but somehow this time with the ladies was a stronger and more moving experience of worship for me.

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