Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 things I learned

I learned so much not only from being in Chad, but being in Chad with an extraordinary family. God couldn't have picked a better family for me to stay with than the Broten's.

I met the Brotens when my family was missionaries in the same country as the Brotens were missionaries in. That was over six years ago, and to be honest, I really don't remember them much. We've kept up over the years and visited several times. They even stayed with us for awhile while we were in Egypt. When the Brotens announced that they were heading back overseas, this time to Chad, they invited me to come along. I've never been to a different country without my family, but since I've always wanted to be a missionary and since I figured they could use a little help with their five kids, I decided to go. At first I thought I wouldn't go to Chad for longer than a month. After actually praying about it, I decided it was more realistic to get the real "Chadian" experience and go for six months.

And so I went and now I'm back, but the Brotens are still over there. They're still getting sick, they're still sweating, they're still in the place where they know God wants them to be. People think that I did a lot for going to Chad for six months, but please. The Brotens have five children, the oldest not even ten years old. I watched as the youngest baby got sick, over and over. We could only try to give her the adult pills for amoebas or pray. Though isn't the most powerful thing we can do is to pray?

Anyways, I learned a lot by being with the Brotens. Here are five of the main things.

Pray all the time // My family prays at mealtimes and sometimes at night. We might say a prayer at a random time here and there. But I never were around people who prayed as much as the Brotens. They would pray at mealtimes and most of the time everyone would pray for something. They would pray at night. They would pray for the neighborhood as we went on a visit, they would pray as soon as something came up that was out of their control. We prayed all the time. I learned that not only does prayer get God's attention, it refocuses ours. I still need to work on prayer, but I'm so thankful for what the Brotens taught me about it during those six months.

Live in your community // This doesn't just mean in a physical sense. Don't just be in your community, but be involved in the people's lives around you. Live in it. Visit your neighbors, catch up on their lives. This especially applies to living on the mission field. There are cultural differences in that circumstance, too.

People are more important // This kind of goes with the above statement. The Brotens taught me that people, especially ones that don't know Jesus, need our attention most. The house can be a little dirty, the schedule can be changed, dinner can wait -- but the souls of the lost won't always be with us.

Laugh // Life can get pretty tough, especially overseas. The Brotens taught me that listening to music, watching a movie, or just telling jokes can really get your spirits lifted. Full House was my lifesaver some days.

Get the better thing // In my family you always buy the cheapest thing. Mr. Broten told me his family was the same way growing up. But I learned from watching the Brotens that if you buy something a little nicer (especially in Chad), it'll last a lot longer and will be more worth it in the end.

Art is everywhere // Mrs. Broten mostly taught me this one. I learned that everywhere, even in a place as barren as Chad, you can find art. You can be creative, too. In Chad, you kind of have to.

Oops. That was six things. Broten family, if you're reading this, I love you guys and miss you!

The pictures above were taken using their iPhone. The one below is taken the morning before I left. We had stayed up late the night before . . . as you can tell from the photo.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Well, I'm home now. I've been home for a total of two weeks and four days. Oh and Merry Christmas, by the way. I kinda forgot about Christmas. When I arrived in the airport in Washington D.C. I thought to myself, "Why are there Christmas trees? Ohhhh. That's right. Christmas is here."

Christmas is busy, we're busy, everything is busy. It's a bit of adjustment after living in Africa where there were only a couple of days a week that we had something "big" going on. Normally that something big was church or a trip to the hills or a team meeting.

But don't get me wrong. I love being home. I love seeing Petra's face explode into surprise and gratitude when she opens a present, I love making Christmas cookies sweetened with honey with Heidi, I love talking to my mom at nights. I love hugging loved ones that I haven't seen for so long and have missed so much. (That also includes jumping out at people and scaring them).

It's good to be home, though I miss Chad and everyone back there. I guess part of me is still there. I don't miss it too bad, but it's enough to make me want to go back one day. One day. Because right now, I feel like I'm supposed to be home, doing things normal teenagers do. Okay, maybe not. I'm not sure if I'll ever be classified as "normal". But I'll be doing things like school and working at a coffee shop and listening to music.

 I'm using a new Mac right now, since my other one had it's last days in Chad. Which is why I haven't posted until now. Thank the Lord I was able to get all my pictures I took off of that computer! Well, I'm not sure how thankful you guys are but I am, because I want to be able to relive memories of Africa. I'll post some more pictures later, but for now I'm going to celebrate Christmas by eating some cinnamon rolls with my family.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


My computer has had some technical difficulties and is resting in my suitcase until I leave. I may try (for the 100th time) to get it to work again, but for now I suppose God decided that I needed more of my fleshly desires to die. Not that my computer can't be used to glorify God, though I guess I could use a break from it these last few week that I'm in Chad.

I won't be blog posting or emailing much in these next few weeks. Reason number one is that my computer isn't working (though I can use the Brotens if I need to) and reason number two is that I have other things I feel like God wants me to work on. I'll email and blog when I can.

I'll still continue the picture a day photography project but I'll probably wait until I get back to the States to post them. For now, here's two pictures I found from the Broten's blog.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Photography project + update

I've decided to keep on going with the picture a day in Chad project, even though I wish that I had decided to take a picture every day in Chad from the beginning of my time here. Some days I've taken several pictures, which will explain why some days there are two "Pictures of the Day". Sometimes I can't decide which ones I like best. :) 

Speaking of my time here in Chad, it really is coming to an end. I leave this small town to the capital at the end of this month and I leave Chad on the 6th of December. I'll be home, Lord willingly, December 7th. The time I've spent here seems to have flown by but at the same time I can't imagine my life without this experience in Chad and it's hard to imagine me being home again. 

Mr. Broten has found a house for the Brotens in the village they've planned to settle down in. We've been packing and Mr. Broten has made several trips out there already. It almost seems surreal to see everything falling into place. God is working and it's incredible not to only see what He's doing, but to be a part of it. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

days 18-23

Life has been good here lately and keeps us busy. I'm considering doing the picture a day photography project next month, too. I love capturing life here. More pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chadian friends

Despite the fact that I'm white and don't speak much Arabic, I'm happy to say that God has been generous enough to give me friends here in Chad. Almost everyday someone will stop by and say hi. There are times when visits are longer and I bring out books or art supplies to entertain ourselves. I normally learn new Arabic words in exchange for teaching my friends English words.

It's true that my friends here will never compare to some of my friends at home (you all are the best). The language, cultural and religious differences can easily create barriers between my friends here in Chad but I've been blessed to have girls that don't make fun of me much (or if they do, I don't understand what they're saying anyway) and who are quick to forget my mistakes or just laugh along with me.

Pray that I would somehow be able to show Jesus to these young ladies. It's humbling to know that without the Spirit I can't bring anyone to Christ.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we could ask or think, according to the Power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever." Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, October 20, 2013

sheep slaughter

Here in Chad they have a holiday (Or Eid as they say in Arabic) where they kill a sheep in remembrance of Abraham sacrificing a sheep instead of his son. When I was younger and  lived in Sudan they celebrated the same holiday every year. I would freak out and hide in my room for two reasons: I didn't want to see the poor sheep get killed and I was scared of blood. This time I watched our neighbor's kill their sheep and it was actually quite fascinating. I even ate some of the meat after they cooked it later that day and it tasted delicious.

Here's some pictures from the sheep killing. If you have a weak stomach or feel a deep tenderness towards sheep, I would warn you not to proceed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chad photography project days 8-17

In about seven weeks from now I leave Chad. The time has, on one hand, seemed to have flown by and on the other hand I feel like it's been ages since I've been home. I miss my family like crazy and I can't explain how enthusiastic I feel at the thought of being with them again.

I've learned much in the past five months. Though it has been exceedingly hard and my sinful flesh has hated every moment of it, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I don't know how God will use me when I get back to the States but being a part of His plan and His church is such a blessing.

(This is totally unrelated but I'm sorry if you couldn't focus on the two paragraphs above because of the gigantic spider staring at you. I freaked out when I saw it but I was brave enough to throw my flipflop from across the room and hit it. I might be scared of spiders now but at least I still have good aim.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

late night with Dolly

Last night Evangeline (Dolly) and I went a little crazy (or cray cray I should say, nowadays). We stayed up late and when the sun comes up at five am late is like 9pm.

We listened to some Matt Kearney, filmed how our water system works, drew pictures of Legolas, wrote silly poems, split a chocolate brownie Cliff bar, and took way too many pictures with the camera flash on. There was also a lot of laughter involved. 

Here's some pics of us. Beware.