Who Are We

Wayne, Hilary & Adelaide Denny. Preparing to Serve in Leadership Training in Senegal, Africa. God has called us to take advantage of a unique window of religious freedom in Muslim Senegal by equipping church leaders who have a heart for reaching their country and the Muslim world.

We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Website!

We have a new website! For all our blog updates and other fun stuff, please visit www.dennysinafrica.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's a....!

Before I tell you whether little baby Denny is a boy or girl, I want to let you know what we went through to find out.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the midwife at the hospital where I will probably deliver and all was well, and she told me to come back on a Monday to see the OB who would be doing ultrasounds. There are no doctors that actually work at the hospital, only midwives, and so Monday is the day to see the doctor on call and have an ultrasound done. So last Monday at 3 o'clock, I drove off to the hospital excited to (maybe) find out what we were having. Now Wayne loves to quote to me something from one of his professors at seminary "If you set your goals low enough, you'll always achieve them," and we have found that to be true in our time here! Things just take a while. So I was planning going to the hospital, and I told Wayne that I may be back in 2 hours, maybe 4. Hopefully I had the time and day right (I'd gotten that lost in translation too before!)

So I arrived at 3, and was told immediately by the man at the reception desk, "Oh no, you need to come back Wednesday." Oh no! So I called the nice midwife who had given me her cell number, and she said "No, tell him I said to come today." So I thought "Ok, crisis averted, I will find out today!" Little did I know that my goals were still set to high.

Fast forward to 7:45 pm. At least 2 babies had been born that afternoon, while a dozen pregnant women sat on hard benches in an unairconditioned hospital waiting to see the doctor. After almost 5 hours of waiting, a midwife came out and handed me my little piece of paper and said "The doctor has too many sick patients to see, you'll have to come back next week." Now I wasn't too upset at that (at least I wasn't crying yet). I am only paying $18 for this ultrasound, and at least the doctor was there for the women who really needed him, but it was a little disappointing, and boy was I hot and tired. So I drove home, and just as I'm about to put my dinner in the microwave to heat it up, the power goes off. This is a normal occurence here, but it was the last straw for me. I was hot, tired, sore, hungry, and disappointed. Thankfully my wonderful husband took good care of me that night as I laid in misery in front of our fan in our dark bedroom.

So, Monday again, back to the hospital again. I was dreading it a bit all day, not sure I could do another 5 hours and have nothing to show for it again. But as soon as I arrived, the man at the reception desk saw me and said "The doctor called and he will be here in 1/2 hour he said." It reassured me a bit, although I knew it wouldn't be 1/2 hour. As I was waiting again on the hard bench in the hot, humid hallway, 2 midwives passed me and said "Oh, you're back. The doctor will be here in 1/2 hour." So that got me hoping that something would happen today. As it turns out, I only had to wait 4 hours today (and you thought reading this blog was taking a long time), and then I got to see...our little boy!!!!

As much as it was a difficult couple of days, I am very thankful for several things in all this.
I am thankful for a healthy baby boy, who already looks to be pretty big!
I am thankful that there is a hospital close to us with good doctors and midwives.
I am thankful for my husband who takes great care of Addie while I am at the doctor and great care of me afterwards.
I am thankful (and trying to become more thankful all the time) for the opportunity that God has given me to see what life is like for the people here in Senegal. $18 for an ultrasound seems like nothing to me, but for some people, it is a lot of money. The hospital is one of the cheapest in the city because it wants to be more available to the people, but that is still a lot of money. It is good for me to sit alongside these women in the heat and humidity and catch just a glimpse of what life is like on a daily basis for them, much harder than my life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

You know you live in Africa when...

You are so excited that the power has been on for the last 20 hours that you don't even care that it's off now.

Your 3 year old routinely shouts out "Power's off!" or "Power's on!" as it goes off and on.

The same 3 year old puts her baby doll to bed and is sure to put a "mosquito net" over her so she doesn't get bit.

You learn to go to sleep to the sound of fans, your neighbors generators, and the other neighbors sheep.

You go to the grocery store and say hi to everybody who works there, not just say hi, but have a conversation with everybody as well.

You are actually expected to go meet your neighbors when you move in and they love having you come in whenever you stop by.

You see sheep riding on the top of taxis.

You have people come up to you on the beach and say "You're really white, you're not from here, are you."

You know the wattage of every appliance in your house so that you know if you can run it on your back up battery system or not. Fan - yes. TV - yes. Microwave - no. Iron - no.

You sometimes drive on the dirt part next to the paved road because there are less potholes.

You tell people how to get to your house by saying "Turn left between the 2 pink houses after the 2nd speed bump..." or "Just drive to the back of the high school and call me, I'll come find you."

During the rainy season, you change the route you take certain places because you don't have 4 wheel drive and you know you won't make it through the puddle that covers the entire road.

We're still learning, and every day is a new adventure here!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greetings and the heat in Senegal / Salutations et la chaleur au Sénégal

Last week we started our wolof classes. One of the things we’ve been working on are the numerous greetings, how are you doing, how was the morning, how’s the family, etc. In the US, we normally just ask, how’s it going and that’s it. Here, even people you barely know will ask you, how did you sleep last night, how’s your wife doing, how are your kids doing. One thing this means is that we have to spend a whole lot of time just on the greetings. One aspect that is simple however is that one of 2 phrases can be used to respond to most of these questions, jamm rekk (peace only) or alxamdulilaay (thanks be to God.)

We were informed that no matter what the question, you always respond with something similar to these answers. If someone asks you how you’re doing, you shouldn’t respond, “not too well.” You always respond positively. That is except for one question that we learned this morning. If someone asks you, “How are you handling the heat,” you don’t have to respond “peace only” or “thanks be to God.” In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “It’s hot!” Now I just need to learn how to say, “It’s dang hot!.” It’s good to know that we’re not the only ones here struggling with the heat.

La semaine dernière, on a commencé avec le wolof. On a beaucoup travaillé sur les salutations, comment ça va, etc. En France, on a appris « ça va »et ça se suffisait pour longtemps. Ici, même avec les gens qu’on à peine connait, on nous demande, tu as bien dormi ? Comment va ta femme, ton enfant, etc ? Ça veut dire qu’on prends beaucoup plus de temps sur les salutations ici qu’en France. Mais une chose qui est simple, c’est qu’il y a deux réponses qui marchent pour beaucoup de ces questions, jamm rekk (seulement la paix) et alxamdulilaay (merci à Dieu).

Notre professeur nous a dit que quoi qu’on soit la question, on répond toujours aux ces type de questions avec une réponse comme ceux. Même si on ne va pas bien, on répond que notre vie n’est que la paix. Sauf au cas où quelqu’un te demanderait, ça va avec la chaleur. Dans ce cas, il est bien acceptable de dire, oui, il faut chaud ! C’est bien de savoir que même les sénégalais qui ont toujours habité ici ont du mal avec la chaleur.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Accomplir des choses au Sénégal et mon introduction aux pot-de-vins

(Avertissement: Personne n'a corrigé ce que j'ai écrit. Alors, si quelqu'un veut le lire et le corriger pour moi, je serais très content. J'espère que c'est comprehensible)

Quand j’étais à école biblique, j’avais un professeur qui disait “Si tu fixes tes objectifs assez modestes, tu peux réussir. Tu réussiras plus souvent et tu seras plus content.” Bien sur, ce conseil n’est pas le meilleur conseil pour tout le monde, mais pendant nos premiers mois au Sénégal, je trouve ce conseil un des meilleurs conseils que j’ai reçu avant d’arriver au Sénégal.
Voici un bon exemple, nous avons envoyé une partie de nos affaires de la France au Sénégal par fret aérien. L’autre jour je suis parti à l’aéroport pour récupérer nos affaires. Avec le conseil de mon ancien professeur, j’ai fixé ce que j’ai pensé être un objectif très modeste. Je me suis dit, ce processus prendra toute la matinée et je n’accomplirai rien d’autre ce matin.
Heureusement, un collègue qui a habité au Sénégal pour environ 10 ans m’accompagné. Nous sommes arrivés à l’aéroport à 9h30. Nous avons assez rapidement trouvé l’accueil d’Air France et nous nous avons renseigné que nos bagages seraient arrivés la veille. J’ai pensé, ça devrait assez facile. Les bagages sont là. Nous devons remplir un peu de documentation, payer les frais et partir avec les bagages.
Mais on nous a dit qu’il faut aller aux 5 bureaux pour remplir la documentation nécessaire. Nous sommes allés au premier bureau et nous avons attendu pendant 30 minutes. Quelqu’un est parti à un autre bureau pour compléter de documentation pour nous et quand nous avons fini cette étape, j’ai dit, c’est pas trop mal. En arrivant au prochain bureau, on nous a informé que le premier bureau ne fait pas parti des 5 bureaux. À 13h, nous venons de compléter le deuxième bureau (deuxième selon eux). C’est le pause pour déjeuner. Il faut partir et revenir à 15h.
Vers 15h30, j’ai enfin examiné nos bagages avec un douanier. Nous nous avons disputé un peu par rapport au machine à coudre que j’avais désigné comme utilisé, mais cette étape s’est bien passé. Au prochaine bureau, Nous sommes restés pendant 30 minutes avec le douanier qui établi les frais pour les douanes. Toute la conversation s’est passé en wolof que je n’ai rien compris (mais heureusement mon collègue compris). Le douanier nous a demandé de quitter son bureau parce que son ordinateur ne marchait pas. Pendant 15 minutes, nous nous sommes demandés si nous l’avons offensé ou si simplement son ordinateur ne marchait pas. Deux transitaires sénégalais qui nous aidaient nous ont informé que le douanier voulait un pot-de-vin de 15 euros et nous pouvions éviter les douanes qui seraient 40 euros. Mon collègue leur a informé que nous voulions suivre le processus correct même si ça veut dire qu’il fallait qu’on payait plus.
Après 10 minutes, nous continuons au prochaine bureau en étant peu sûr de savoir si le douanier exigeait le pot-de-vin où si on l’avait pris au mot. Après un autre deux ou trois bureau (en fin de compte, je n’ai aucune idée pourquoi ils ont dit 5 bureaux). Il est 17h et on était enfin en train de charger nos bagages dans notre voiture.
La chose principale que j’ai apprise ce jour là, j’ai modifié le conseil de mon professeur. Il n’est pas possible de fixer les objectifs trop modestes. Je crois que la chose le plus frustrante est que tout prends plus de temps et nous ne pouvons plus accomplir tous ce que nous voulons. Avant de quitter les États-Unis, nous lisions plusieurs livres à propos du choc culturel et pendant notre séjour en France nous pensions souvent, pourquoi on nous exigeait de lire tant de livres à propos de ça. Après une mois au Sénégal, je pense que nous aurions du lire plus de livres.
Mais ce que m’a frappé le plus à ce niveau, c’est de me souvenir l’exemple de Jésus. Le Dieu qui a créé le monde est devenu humain. Et Jésus faisait patiemment face aux ces inefficacités. Alors, dans un sens il faut que nous fixions nos objectifs plus modestes au niveau de quotidien. Mais niveau spirituel nous avons un objectif bien plus difficile. Nous devrions viser à imiter l’exemple de Jésus et réagir comme Jésus face aux inefficacités quotidiens.
Philippiens 2:5-11
Que votre attitude soit identique à celle de Jésus-Christ : lui qui est de condition divine, il n’a pas regardé son égalité avec Dieu comme un butin à préserver, mais il s’est dépouillé lui-même en prenant une condition de serviteur, en devenant semblable aux êtres humains. Reconnu comme un simple homme, il s'est humilié lui-même en faisant preuve d'obéissance jusqu'à la mort, même la mort sur la croix. C'est aussi pourqoui Dieu l'a élevé à la plus haute place et lui a donné le nom qui est au-dessus de tout nom afin qu'au nom de Jésus chacun plie le genou dans le ciel, sur la terre et sous la terre et que toute langue reconnaisse que Jésus-Christ est le Seigneur, à la gloire de Dieu le Père.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why?...and other questions.

With a 3 almost 4 year old in the house, we are deep into the question phase. I love seeing how her mind works but frankly, it is exhausting sometimes! Today, we are watching "The Sound of Music" (yes, I love having a little girl to watch it with me!) and the first 10 minutes of the movie went a little like this.

Addie: "Mom, why is she singing?"
Me: "It's a musical, that's what they do."
Addie: "Why is she in the water?"
Me : "She's just playing near the water."
Addie: "Why are there only girls at that church?"
Me: "Because it's a special church that girls live at."
Addie: "Why are they wearing black?"
Me: "That's what nuns wear."
Addie: "What are those girls singing about?"
Me: "They're singing about Maria."
Addie: "Why?"
Me: "Because she's always late."
Addie: "Why is she late?"
Me: "Because she's doing other things."
Addie: "Why does she have a suitcase?"
Me: "Because she needs to take her clothes with her."
Addie: "Why?"
Me: "Because she's going to live with the family to take care of the kids>"

And it just goes on, and on, and on. I finally fell asleep, so I think the questions stopped, but I'm not sure, you'll have to ask Wayne (who was not watching with us by the way!).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting stuff done in Senegal and my introduction to bribes


On of my favorite profs in seminary, Dr. Hannah, used to say, "If you set your goals low enough, you can achieve them. You'll hit em more often and be much happier." That advice has proven to be possibly the most helpful during our initial time here in Senegal. A case in point, the other day I went to the airport with a colleague to pick up some bags that we sent by air freight from Paris to Senegal. With Dr. Hannah's advice in mind, I set a really low goal, getting our bags will be the only thing accomplished this morning.

We arrived at the airport at 9:30 AM. After a quick trip to the Air France counter, we knew our bags had arrived and all that was necessary was to fill out some paper work and pick em up. We were informed that we would need to visit 5 offices before the necessary paper work was completed. After 30 minutes in the first office along with one person volunteering to take some paper work to another office, I felt pretty good. Until we arrived at the next building and realized that the first office didn't really count. It wasn't until 1PM before we were on our way to the real 2nd office, just in time for lunch break. At 3PM we come back. I finally get to see our stuff and examine the contents with a customs officer. We then move on to the next office where I'm completely oblivious to the conversation that's happening in wolof (Fortunately my colleague speaks great wolof). We're asked to step out of the office because the computer isn't working right. We wonder for 15 minutes if we had somehow offended him or if really the computer doesn't work. We then find out from the 2 Senegalese guys helping us that he wants a $20 bribe to help us avoid paying customs on a sewing machine we shipped. My collegue informs them that we'll pay whatever the customs duties are even if it costs us more money. After another 10 minutes, we move on to the next office still unsure if they will insist on a bribe or if we had successfully called their bluff. After another 2 or 3 offices (I don't think it was 5), it's 5PM and we're finally loading up our stuff.

The big takeaway from the day. I've modified Dr. Hannah's advice for our transition to life in Senegal. "It is not possible to set your goals too low." This has perhaps been the most frustrating aspect of our transition. Absolutely everything takes longer and I'm not even sure why half the time. We read so many books on culture shock before leaving the US and during our time in France I thought, this culture shock stuff isn't as big a deal as people make it. After 1 month in Senegal, I think I might need to dig back through some of those books.

Although, the most important book we're needing to go back to is the example of Jesus in the Bible. The God who created the world became human. But Jesus handled all of the inefficiencies associated with this transition with patience and love. In one sense, we've had to lower our goals, i.e. it's going to take longer to get established than we thought. But in another sense, we're realized the need to always keep before us the ultimate goal which is far greater than what we can achieve on our own, that is the goal of imitating the example of Christ.

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he as in the form of God, did not count equality with Goa a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exaleted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why candle light is no longer romantic....

Because it means that the power is out...again! One of the most difficult things for me since moving into our house has been the power outages. Every night around 8 pm, the power goes out until around midnight, and then it is usually off and on through the night. Wayne wants to know why I'm whining when he is giving me whole candle lit evenings, not just a candle lit dinner :) Thankfully, this weekend we got a system installed in our house that involves 2 big car batteries and an inverter. The way it works (I think) is that when the power is on, the batteries charge, and then as soon as the power goes off, certain things in our house (ie. fans!) switch over automatically to the batteries. We are sooooo thankful to have this system installed as we can now have fans running all night (!!!!!) and have some light at night, as well has have our internet on and use our laptops when the power is out. Thank goodness for electricians who understand how the magic works!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

notre première nuit dans notre nouvelle maison

On a des collegues qui nous ont raconté de leur première nuit au Sénégal et qu'ils ont entendu un concert à un mosque près d'eux. J'ai commencé à me demander ce que nous empechera de s'endormir.

22h Je devine que ce sera le brebis qui habitent sur le toit de nos voisins
22h30 L'electricité est coupé et j'entends les générateurs de nos voisins. Ce bruit est mon deuxième hypothèse.
3h le courant reviens, J'entends encore les brebis.
3h30 C'est pas les brebis. Il fait chaud. Il fait 32 degrees dans la maison et l'air ne circule pas notre notre chambre.
5h Je crois que j'ai dormi pendant une heure. Maintenant mes yeux brulent (est-ce que je peux dire ça en français, mes yeux se font mal). Plus tard, on a realisé que c'était la moustiquaire qu'il faut n'utilse pas pour le 24 premieres heures à cause de quelque chose sur la moustiquaire pour tuer les moustiques. Je devine que si c'est assez fort pour presque tuer une personne, c'est assez fort pour tuer un moustique.

7h Je me suis reveillé de mon deuxième sieste d'une heure.

Heurusement, la situation s'est ameliorée. Il fait encore très chaud, specialement quand le courant est coupée et on n'a pas de ventilators. À ce moment là, il faut qu'on decide quelle piece a plus de vent et tout le monde y va. Mais, nous avons une bonne maison et nous commencons à s'installer.

Priez que nous soyone contents avec où sans électricité. Pendant les coupures d'électricité, c'est vraiment difficile à obeir à Phil 2.14, faites tout sans murmures ni contestations.

First night in our house

Some of our colleagues told us that their first night in their house in Senegal, they heard a concert at the nearby mosque that lasted all night long. It got me to wondering, what will keep us from sleeping our first night?

10:00 my first guess is the sheep that live on our neighbor's roof
10:30 power goes out and all our neighbor's generators crank up. my second guess is the noise from the generators.
3:00 the power comes back on, I hear the sheep again
3:30 not the sheep, it's just dang hot and sweat is dripping down my forehead because air doesn't circulate well in our room. it's around 90 degrees.

5:00 ok, I think I actually slept for an hour. But now my eyes are burning so I get up to talk a cold shower so I can cool off. We later found out that we were both in some pain because you're supposed to hang out your mosquito net for 24 hours before using because there's something on it to repel the mosquito's. I guess the logic is that's if it's strong enough to about kill you, it's strong enough to kill the mosquito's.

7:00 waking up from my 2nd 1 hour nap

Fortunately, it's gotten better. It's still hot and when the power is cut during the night, we have no fans and have to decide which room has the most breeze so we can all cram in there. But, we do have a nice house and are slowly settling in.

Please be praying for us to be content with or without power (is that a U2 song?). During the power cuts, the command in Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without grumbling and complaining" is incredibly difficult to obey.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wouldn't have guessed that

We've only been here a couple weeks, but I've already noticed several things that are quite surprising.

First, there's an awful lot of pork and alcohol in the grocery stores.

Second, the definition of modesty. You would think that the women in any muslim country would always dress far more conservative than women in western countries. That's partially true here. Women don't show any of their legs. Miniskirts would be a definite no-no. But I've seen quite a few low-cut dresses and spaghetti strap shirts.

Third, in spite of the first 2, it really is a muslim country. My cell phone has an application I can turn on that will alert me for each of the prayer call times and even tell me which direction to pray.

Fourth, they really love soccer. OK, that's not a shock. But what is a shock is how this love for soccer seems to take precedent over everything. Most days involve the power being cut as they seek to not use too much electricity. I don't fully understand the why but I'm sure of the what. However, during the world cup games, the power is never cut and a friend told me the other day that there's an advertisement during the games that encourages people to not use household appliances during the games so they can conserve energy and not have to cut power during the games.

This last one is nice along as the world cup is on. Although, I'm afraid the power cuts are only going to get worse.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Window shopping

I used to think that America was the most convinient place on earth...one stop at a Super Target and you could get all your shopping done for the day. But I'll have to admit that there are some perks to living here in Senegal, and one of them is the window shopping, as in you're sitting in your car in traffic, you see something on the side of the road that someone is selling that interests you, you roll down your window and voilà, a new purchase without ever leaving your airconditioned car! We haven't done much of this yet, just mainly for fruit, but here are a few things we saw for sale on our recent trip into the capital.

Clothes...all sorts including boxer shorts, and not just any boxer shorts, Barack Obama boxer shorts
Furniture...desk chairs, beds, tables, couches
Food...all the mangoes you could ever eat (it's mango season), bananas, orangers, cookies, little bags of water, nuts
Phone cards...everyone has pay as you go phones here, and phone cards are available everywhere
Tools...I saw a whole stand this weekend with all sorts of tools, who knows if they worked or not.
Luggage...backpacks, suitcases, purses
Games...I actually saw a French version of Monopoly and Scrabble! It was tempting
License plates...this seemed a little shady to me
Sunglasses...cute and cheap
Watches...I may have to get one soon
Miscellaneous items...Q-tips, toothpics, fans, car air fresheners (often with stars and stripes on them), New York Yankees baseball caps

And the best story of all was from one of our colleagues. Her husband was driving around one day and saw a kitchen sink of the side of the road. He asked the man if it was for sale, and ended up taking it home with him that day, just what he needed! So here in Senegal, you really can buy just about anything from your car, including a kitchen sink.

Friday, June 11, 2010


We're in Senegal!! We haven't taken many pictures yet, just trying to soak it all in ourselves, but here are a few 'snapshots' of our last few days.

Picture this... as our plane takes off in Dallas, Addie looks at me with a look of sheer joy on her face and says "We're flying to Senegal!".

Picture this... Addie just woke up from a nap on our first flight. We were late leaving Dallas and therefore late getting to New York. We have 6 carry-ons, 2 of which are filled with books. Picture me, half carrying Addie half holding her hand and making her run through the airport to make our connection. Picture her bawling because she's tired and me hearing "Final boarding call for Dakar" twice as we keep looking for our gate. Picture me out of breath telling the gate agents that my husband had to bring our gate checked carry-ons and would be a few minutes behind me but we were there! Picture us running onto the plane, dropping into our seats in exhaustion and begging the flight attendant for some water. It was exciting, but we made it!

Picture this... 4:30 am in Senegal, praying that all our bags would make it, and finding them all there!

Picture this... 9:00 am in Senegal, Wayne and I crashed from exhaustion, and Addie bringing me all the toys she has to play with at our teammates house. I could barely keep my eyes open to see them, and finally she crawled up into bed with us and fell asleep too.

Picture this... our first look at our new house! Picture both Wayne and I giddy at the fact that we will have space in this house! (I guess anything beats a 500 square foot apartment).

Picture this... Addie, delighted to meet our new teammates, chatting the adults ears off and loving having new friends her age to play with.

Picture this... Wayne looking at me with a look of sheer joy on his face after having met the president of the Bible College and talking about his future in teaching there.

Thanks for praying for us. We're so excited to finally be here and start to settle in. I'll post some real pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

We have been back in the US now for one crazy busy month and leave for Senegal 2 weeks from today! And while this month has been full of joy at seeing friends and family and also sadness at saying goodbye once again, God has blessed us particularly through Addie these past few weeks. Her joy and flexibility continue to amaze us in this phase of life we are in and we are so thankful to have her. Just to share with you how she has blessed us, here are a few of the things she has said this past month...

At the doctors office in Iowa 3 days after we arrived from France
Nurse: "Hi sweetie, where do you live?"
Wayne and I (in our heads): "We have no idea, we're homeless!"
Addie: "I live in Senegal!"

After I said goodbye to my grandparents for possibly the last time
Addie: "Mommy, why are you crying?"
Me: "I'm just sad to say goodbye."
Addie (with her arms around my neck giving me a big hug): "Don't worry mom, you'll be happy in Senegal!"

When talking about Senegal and our teammates who were in France with us and will be moving to Senegal this summer as well.
Addie: "I'm soooo excited to see Faith and Grace in Senegal. Aren't you soooo excited to see uncle Bo and aunt Michele in Senegal mom?"

At the 3rd church we've been to in the past month
Addie: "Mom, this is not our church. Our church is in French!"

And something that brought a smile to our faces today while all 3 of us were lying in the hammock
Me: "I hear the birds making noise. I hear daddy's stomach making noise too!"
Addie: "My face is making noise too!" (And it hasn't stopped all day)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Au revoir

This week...

Packed our bags - yup (and they are packed to the gills!)
Walked around Paris one more time - sort of (we were too tired to walk too far!)
Sold the car - done
Ate our last real French meal - mmmmmm, it was good
Got rid of all the stuff we'd acquired this past year that didn't fit in the bags - yup
Said "goodbye" to lots of friends :(
Said "au revoir" to lots of others :(
Got Addie's report card from school - we're so proud of her progress this year!
Had our last Sunday at a church we have grown to love this year - always hard for me!
Spread a little "Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie" joy to our friends in France (as long as the recipe I translated makes sense!)
Looked back at how much God has blessed us in our 16 months in France!

What a week.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary to us

Wayne and I celebrated our anniversary a month early this year by a little trip to Rome! It's great being so close to so many places here in France. We had a wonderful weekend enjoying the sights, being real tourists, eating lots of pizza and just relaxing.

But we sure did miss this little girl!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The first 5 months of 2010

I was flipping through my planner the other day and noticing how full it is...until the end of May, and then it is empty! Why? Because on May 25th, we move to Senegal! (and I have no idea what our life will look like after that day...)

A few of the things that have been keeping us busy and will keep us busy up until that day...

1. School...yes, we're still in school. I sometimes feel like my life as a student will never end...
2. Vacation...the wonderful thing about school! We recently had a week off and were able to visit Wayne's cousin and his family in Prague. It was a beautiful city and a very refreshing time with family. The dads and kids had just gone sledding in this picture...mom is smart, she just took pictures!
3. Sleepovers...Addie has now spent the night at her friend Emma's house twice and Emma was able to come stay with us one night. We are so thankful to Anne-Sophie and Olivier for having Addie over and giving us a night off once in a while!
4. Anniversary...for our 5th anniversary this year, Wayne and I will be taking a quick weekend trip to Rome while grandma and grandpa Denny spend some time with Addie! Looks like it's a win-win situation.
5. Packing...we haven't quite started yet, but it sure is on our minds. It gets a little complicated when you have things going from France to Senegal, France to US to Senegal, US to Senegal with someone else, and US to Senegal in our suitcases. Pray for my sanity please.
6. Presentations...we presented our goals and plans probably 50 times in the States before we left, but we get the chance to do it one more time next week in French! We are excited to share with our church our plans for Senegal so that our friends can keep up with us and pray for us.
7. Paris...yes we do manage to sneak in a day in Paris every once in a while. You can't live in Paris for over a year without having seen at least a few of the great museums and going up the Eiffel Tower!
8. Reading...Wayne and I are both reading through the Bible in 90 days with some friends of ours here at church (although it will be about 110 days for me...whoops, where did those 2 weeks go?). We are enjoying spending this time going fairly quickly though the word and getting a bigger picture of who God is and what He has done and is doing.
9. Traveling...we will be heading back the States on April 24th (just in time to celebrate my dad's birthday at Giordanos in Chicago!) and will be there for one fast and furious month. We will each be in 3 different states during that time, but at slightly different times...I'm not even sure I'm going to be able to keep up with us!
10. Seeing family...in about 2 months, we will have both been able to see all of our immediate families! I can't tell you how excited I am about that as it has been over a year since I have seen my siblings, and about 10 months since I have seen my parents.
11. Eating...I can't lie, the food in France is incredible, but we also miss the food in the States. Which means we'll just be eating a lot in the next few months. We still have to try a few things here (I'm sure there are at least 300 types of cheese we haven't yet tried, no joke, and I've been told we can't leave without trying fois gras), and we've got our tour of foods we've been missing and want to eat while we're back (Chicago pizza, mexican food, Red Robins hamburger, Buffalo Wild Wings, and of course, Snuffers cheese fries).
12. I guess that means exercising should be next on the list! Wayne is still very involved with his basketball team and has a few more games left. I'm going to start running again when it gets warmer - maybe....

So...on y va! (that's "here we go", I haven't figured out how to say "bring it on!" in French yet)

Monday, February 8, 2010


Addie's French has really started to take off. In fact, some days she seems to speak more French than English (which is really exhausting when she wakes up at 6 am and for the next hour asks me for things in French). And she is not slowed down by not knowing a word either (she's her daddy's daughter). I think sometimes she thinks "hmmm...I don't know if this word is French or English...let's just try it" and then what comes out of her mouth is...

"C'est un computer" (insert French accent) or
"Je suis strong" (again, insert really cute French accent to all words, including the English one).

She is her daddy's daughter.


Addie parle beaucoup en français maintenant. En fait, parfois, il me semble qu'elle parle plus en français qu'en anglais (et ça c'est très fatiguant entre 6h et 7h du matin pour moi!). Et le manque de connaissance d'un certain mot en français ne l'empêche pas de parler (elle tient de son père). Je crois qu'elle pense parfois "Je ne sais pas si ce mot est français ou anglais...du coup, je vais l'essayer!" et puis, elle dit quelquechose comme...

"C'est un computer" (avec un accent français) ou
"Je suis strong" (encore avec un accent très mingon pour tous les mots, même le mot anglais).

Tel père, telle fille.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sermon - 31 Janvier

This past Sunday, I was able to preach on the subject of the importance of God being worshipped by people from all nations and how this theme is found from the beginning of the Bible until the end. In this sermon (which contained quite a few ideas from John Piper's book, Let the Nations Be Glad), I tried to present the idea of how evangelism is an extension of worship. If we truly value God and consider Him to be more precious than anything or anyone, then how can we be content in a world where people mock Him and consider Him irrelevant.

Ce dernier dimanche, j'ai preché au sujet de l'importance que Dieu soit loué par les peuple de toutes les nations et comment ce thème se trouve dès le debut de la Bible. Dans ce predication, j'ai esseayé de presenter l'idée de comment l'evangelism est une extension de notre adoration pour Dieu. Si on aime Dieu et le considére plus precieux que n'importe quoi ou n'importe qui, comment on peut être content dans un monde où les gens se moquent de lui et le considérent être sans importance.

Voici le lien:

Monday, February 1, 2010

The McNuggets/Les McNuggets - en version originale et version française

Wayne gave me a free afternoon today, so I decided to head to the mall to see a movie. The mall near us is nice because it has a big theatre and lots of matinees, but the only problem is that the movies are always dubbed in French (sometimes we can go to a movie that is just subtitled in French). Well, feeling pretty daring today and not too tired (and being a sucker for sports movies), I decided to go see Invictus, a movie about the South African rugby team just after the election of Mandela. I don't know anything about rugby and don't particularly enjoy it (probably because I don't know anything about it), but the movie was great. And I was feeling really good about myself for having watched it in French (I know I missed one joke when everyone laughed but me, but I think that was about it). Feeling pretty proud of myself, I walked around the mall for a while, bought Addie a present, and generally just tried to blend in with the rest of the French shoppers. I was doing pretty well (as long as I left my jacket on and didn't show my Chicago Cubs t-shirt), that is until I stopped for dinner.

Normally, I don't have trouble ordering food in a restaurant here. I can pretty much figure out how to pronounce things from the way that they are spelled. The problem is that I wasn't eating French food, I was at McDonald's, and I didn't want a Big Mac (I know how to pronounce that with a French accent), I wanted nuggets. I briefly thought about ordering a BigMac, just so I wouldn't have to figure out how to pronounce "McNuggets" in French, but I really wanted the nuggets. So I gave it my best shot, the lady at the counter gave me a really funny look and said "pardon?", I tried again, and finally she said "Oh, McNuggets!" (of course with a French accent) and I said "Oui, avec coca."

So I learned today that I should be careful about being too proud of myself, and I always need to be ready to laugh at myself (because I'm pretty sure others already are).

Wayne m'a donné un après-midi pour moi-même aujourd'hui, et j'ai décidé d'aller au théatre. Normalment, quand on voit les films au théatre, on les voit sous-titrés en français parce que c'est plus reposant pour moi. Mais aujourd'hui, je n'étais pas très fatiguée, du coup j'ai osé de voir Invictus en version française. J'aime bien les films du sport, et ce film est excellent. C'est à propos de l'équipe de rugy de l'Afrique du Sud après que Mandela a été elu président. Bien que je ne comprenne pas le rugby, j'aime ce film (mais je n'ai pas pleuré comme d'habitude dans les films du sport!). De toute façon, le film m'a plu et j'étais très fiere de moi aussi parce que j'ai compris quasiment tout là dedans!

Alors, j'ai parcouru le centre commercial, tout en etant très fiere d'être "si française" pour avoir vu ce film sans problème en français! (Je n'ai pas enlevé mon manteau pendant que je marchais parce que je pense que le t-shirt du Chicago Cubs aurais dit que je n'étais pas française) Mais peut-être j'étais un peu trop fière de moi, parce que dès que je suis entrée McDo's, je me suis rendue compte que j'ai eu un problème. Je ne savais pas du tout comment prononcer "McNuggets" en français. Je sais prononcer "BigMac" en français, mais je ne voulais pas un BigMac, je voulais des McNuggets! Je savais le dire en anglais, mais j'ai toujours du mal à prononcer les mot qui sont anglais mais qui sont utilisés en français. Alors, j'ai pris mon courage à deux mains et j'ai dit "Je voudrais un menu McNuggets", et elle m'a dit "Pardon?" Alors, j'ai essayé encore, "McNuggets", et après quelques secondes (pendant lesquelles elle sûrement se disait "elle n'a ni dit BigMac, ni hamburger..."), elle m'a souri et m'a dit "McNuggets?" auquel j'ai dit "Oui, avec le coca." (je sais dire coca!)

Donc, j'ai appris aujourd'hui de ne pas être trop fière de moi et qu'il faut rire de moi-même parfois aussi! Mais je me suis regalée avec les McNuggets! Tout bien consideré, c'était une bonne journée.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Big Girl

Something amazing happened last week. Addie wanted to go to school.

Now she hasn't been doing awful, it's just always made her a little nervous, and so she never went very easily, was usually very clingy to the teacher when she got there, and there were often a few tears on the way (and a few tears after on mommy's part). We had been mercilessly bribing her with chocolate (and not just any chocolate, Swiss chocolate), and it was working for the most part. There were days when we could tell that she wanted to be there, she was just a little nervous while going and when we dropped her off.

Then a week ago, Wayne had taken her to school and was hanging up her jacket in the hallway when she walked off without him into her classroom, turned around and said "Au revoir papa!" like it was the most natural thing in the world! Ever since then, she's been hopping up in the mornings saying "Mommy, I need to eat so I can go to school!" and hasn't had any trouble at all! She says now that she is a "big girl" and that's why she doesn't cry when she goes to school. We are so proud of her and so happy with the change that God has brought about in her. It is such a joy for us to see her happily marching into school, smiling the whole time.

She now tells us too that if we are a big girl and a big boy and don't cry when we go to school, we can have chocolate too. I haven't told her that I already treat myself to Swiss chocolate, even on days when I cry :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Happy Birthday Grandma! Since we can't be there to celebrate with you, we celebrated here for you. We love you and can't wait to see you soon!
By the way, Addie was a little offended that Wayne ate your cupcake after we sang. I told her we'd make you some more when we visit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dancing Queen

Apparently they learn more than just the alphabet in French preschool.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Au revoir Betty

Today was a big day for me. I made my first ever batch of cupcakes and frosting without a Betty Crocker cake mix or frosting in a can!

Ce sont mes premiers 'cupcakes' que j'ai faits sans le 'mix' de Betty Crocker!

And Wayne just told me it is the best cupcake he has ever had in his life! Sorry Betty!

The only problem is that now that I know what is in the frosting, I might be less inclined to eat too much of it (wow it's a lot of butter and sugar!).