Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adjusting to Life in a Village (Part 5)

The Comical Times of Village Life
Written by: Jody

Since I am having trouble thinking of one specific time that was very funny, I have decided to share with you 2 times that I thought were humorous.   A few months ago I dug a small plot for a garden I was wanting to plant.  The ground there is obviously lacking in resources so in order to help the ground I would water the spot each day and work it with a tool.  A volunteer who was here told me I should also put some animal poop in it and that this was great fertilizer.  So the first time I went out I walked around the cow market area and picked up goat and sheep poop with a shovel to fertilize my garden.  The second time however, I did not want to go, so I asked two young boys to go and get it for me.  I was planning on paying them for it.  I handed them the shovel and a bucket and off they went.  A few minutes later I looked over my wall to see how they were doing and to my surprise they walked from pile of poop to pile of poop picking up all they could with their bare hands.  They were just holding the shovel and using their bare hands.  When I handed them the shovel they must have thought I was nuts, “what’s he giving us this for?” But instead of being rude or leaving it behind they just carried it along with them picking up poop with one hand and holding the shovel with the other hand.

This next story took place while we lived in the capital city, but I thought it was funny enough to include here.  I had made an African friend who I talked with on most days.  One day when I showed up to talk with him, I noticed he had a bird and a cage in which to keep the bird.  I asked him why he had a bird and he proceeded to tell me that because he had a white friend that he must learn how to take care of a bird.   I then asked him if I was that white friend and he responded with “Yes”.  Apparently, some of the other missionaries and other Americans in Niger have had or do have a bird.  So he and many others just assume that all Americans like to own birds.  So I told him that I did not own a bird and he responded to me that maybe someday you will.  I then told him, “probably not”, in which he responded “are you sure?”  I answered with a “Yes”. 

When I told Sarah about the situation she said, Awww, that’s cute in a creepy sort of way.  The funny part was that he did not buy the bird in a store or get it from somebody else, he just one morning got to work and caught it with his bare hands.  Seriously, have you ever seen anybody catch a bird before with his bare hands? That’s crazy.  He told me it was in the morning when the bird was tired and could not fly well, but still that’s amazing.  And in order to get the bird back and forth from his house to work each day he would take the bird out of the cage put him in his backpack and drive to work on his motorcycle.   That poor bird spent weeks being ushered back and forth in a backpack. 

The culture is obviously much different here, which gives you many different experiences.  You have to try to enjoy the funny differences that the culture gives you.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

30 Days of Prayer for the Songhai People

This year the Songhai team is having a month of prayer for the Songhai people.  The Songhai team includes Mark and Parker Philips and Randy and Susan Saleeby as well as our family.  Together we have made a 30 day prayer and we are asking all our prayer supporters to join us in praying for the Songhai people  daily during the month of Ramadan.    

Beginning on July 20, Muslims around the world will take part in Ramadan, the holiday they celebrate by fasting from sun up to sun down for 30 days in order to gain favor with Allah. We are asking that you, our faithful prayer partners, gather your friends & family & commit to pray for the Songhai every day during this 30 day period. We've composed a prayer guide with specific things for you to pray about for each of those 30 days. We are also asking that at the end of Ramadan, on August 18, you & your group will meet together to have a meal using free recipes & resources provided by the IMB (found here & here). During this meal, you will prepare Sub Saharan African dishes & pray as a group for the Songhai on the same day they are breaking their 30 day fast. We are hoping that many groups will join in this project &, on August 18, all of us (including the Songhai team in Niger!) will be meeting to pray in one voice for the Songhai. Will you join us? If you're interested, please contact us at & we will gladly send you our prayer guide. (We will not be posting the prayer guide on the blog as we will not be using pseudonyms for this project & do not want this information on the blog.)

This would be a great activity for a small group, Sunday school class and even church.  When and if you meet together to have a meal using the free recipes & resources we could also plan on Skype with your group.  This would give us a great blessing in order to talk and see many of you on skype.  We pray that you will consider the opportunity. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adjusting to Life in a Village (Part 4)

The Difficulties of Village Life
Written by: Jody

There can be many difficulties living in an African village.  I will try to give you a snap shot of some of them.  Although I do complain about these difficulties, I don’t want you to think that I hate the culture we live in or even the people we minister to.  Keep in mind, the difficulties are many and some days are harder than others, but we love our ministry and the people we minister to.

Some of you have lived without a microwave before, however, we have not until just recently.  Let me say that when most things are cooked from scratch eating left overs makes life much easier, but when you don’t have a microwave to warm them up, life is just harder.   You may think that’s not such a big deal but when you live here it becomes a big deal, faster.  However, we are so thankful that a team from the states brought us a microwave a few months ago.  God is good.

Dust is everywhere.  It seems like dusting is just a big waste of time.  By the next day the whole house needs it again.  This is probably worse in the cold season because of all the wind. 

Thorns everywhere.  A day hardly goes by where I am not walking through the village and having to stop and pull a thorn out of my foot. 

How dirty our girls manage to get everyday.  In the states you could get away with a few baths a week.  But here a shower is necessary most nights for our little ones.  When your yard is literally a sand box and the girl’s think sand angels are so cool, you can understand right?

The language barrier is definitely difficult.  When I walk around I often talk about what I know, but inevitably the conversation will change to something I don’t know with words that I don’t know.  Everybody is participating and even some times laughing, leaving me standing there feeling like a loser and wondering if they’re all laughing at me. 

And finally the heat.  We are currently at the end of hot season and by the grace of God the rainy season is coming soon.  Most days are well over 100 and nights are around 100.   We do have fans which help with air movement and at night we are able to use air conditioners to help us sleep.  But when the electric goes out the hot, stale, non moving air is overwhelming.  Especially when I have to wear pants all the time. 

Again, these are some difficulties out of many I could mention.  But please remember that even though these are frustrating realities for us, we love what God has called us to do and press on in the joy of the Lord.  Although some days can be harder than others. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Random Pictures and Videos

We wanted to share some random pictures and videos of our family and village with you.  Enjoy!!!

Lauren enjoying the swing that Grandma and Grandpa bought her.

Jordan on the swing!

My wife loves to have animals around our house.  So for the third time we have bought chickens.  Let's hope these ones stay alive.  However, Camryn is still learning how to catch a chicken, check out this video.

Camryn's unique swinging style.

Lauren and the Richard (the black cat).  Richard has just been banished from our house.  So he is now an outdoor cat.  He would just not learn to use a litter box.

This is one of my friends and his two children...I meet with him each Friday.

This is my friend's daughter 

Sarah and one of her friends...

Camryn and one of our chickens...

This is the main Mosque in the middle of our village.

Camryn demonstrating her African skills

Jordan and friends

This is near the market in our village and one of the main roads.

Camryn and her toys.

Lauren is mom's little helper and wants to help Sarah a lot.  Here she is helping make rice.

Our house help and friend.  

Jordan and her swing.

This is what you see when you look over our compound wall.  The sticks in the front of the picture is where the cows are on market day (Wednesday) and the farther part of the picture is the soccer field where they play soccer each night and on market day they sell all kinds of things, mainly goats and sheep.

Lauren and Richard.  She loves to carry this cat around but I am not so sure the cat always likes it.