Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cool Weather Behind Us

Cool Weather Behind Us - February 7, 2012

Bonne annee! Happy New Year! The new year came and went, not much celebration. The nights were cool in December and January and we unpacked a sleeping bag to use as a duvet cover almost every night. However, the days warm up very quickly, so that by 9:30 am one is usually drinking lots of water to hydrate. By 3 pm the days have reached the hottest temps and it is hard to work under those conditions. Kel has resorted to wetting his shirt to return to the jobsite after lunch.

We have had several “harmitons” (high-level dust/sand in the air) which makes the days a bit cooler due to less radiation from the sun, but the solar panels do not produce the normal amount of electricity on such days.

Since we last wrote, our team is conducting several weekly Bible studies in the area. We two are in charge of one location to the west of Bere. There is a core group of 6 or 7 adults, but up to 40 children, so on Sabbath afternoons we tell a Bible story that is translated into Nangjere by our local translator. On Tuesday afternoons, Kel has a Bible study based on some questions the adults have raised, with the same local translator. God is blessing and it may become a place to erect another one-day church.

Last Sunday we treated ourselves to a picnic at the big river near Lai, 18 km east of our village. The gals contributed picnic lunch items and we borrowed a vehicle from the hospital. We were all amazed to see the size of the river, at least the width. This river, as well as the one near Bere, flows north toward Lake Chad. Kel estimates the concrete bridge was at least a kilometer long across the river. Several trucks rolled up and crews loaded building sand – free for the taking under the bridge. We swam in the river and we two walked downstream along the riverbank to a grassy peninsula where we noticed several deep hippo footprints in the mud. Looked like a couple of hippos walked side by side. We ate lunch under a shade tree - veggie burgers and coleslaw. We returned for an afternoon swim, then drove back to Bere.

Bird life in Chad is abundant. We saw maribou storks, black storks, African jacana, cattle egrets, snowy egrets, herons, sandpipers, pied crows, pied kingfishers, and several raptors. Last Sabbath, instead of walking to church, we two took a moto rode several kms into the bush to watch birds. We saw the European roller, and a pair Chad's equivalent of the crimson-breasted shrike, and white-headed barbets, and we think we saw a pair of hoepoe, but they were too far away to identify properly. There were Namaqua doves and crowned plovers running around on the ground.

It seems that our malaria-prevention meds are working hard and we are mostly well this time around. We are so thankful for the prevention and are still careful to be inside during dawn and dusk and the dark hours and we always sleep under the mosquito net.

We had a very large 8-legged visitor who was not welcome inside the hut show itself on Sunday morning. Josie attempted to move it out of the hut when it crawled toward her hands. Needless to say she screamed, dropped the item, and the spider (Kel named Samson) ran for its life under the bed. Well, for a couple of nights we tucked the mosquito net a bit tighter around the mattress. This morning Josie reached for an item in a basket and there the spider was, so she carried the basket out the door and unceremoniously dumped it on the porch. The 8-legged creature ran and Josie jumped in the air – fortunately Kel was inside and nabbed it with the broom, but it crawled under the screen door to the outside. Ah hah! One strike with a trusty flipflop and spider curled up. Then the compound dog promptly ate it!

Thanks so much for praying for us and we appreciate so much your love and support.

You can always drop us an e-mail at

Lots of love & hugs,

Josie & Kel

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back in Chad – Blog, Dec 24

Back in Chad – Blog, Dec 24

Well the time in South Africa has come and gone. We did a program at the East Church on Sabbath, Dec 3, telling them of our mission experiences and showing photos. On Sunday, Dec 4, Kel had some family over and we celebrated his birthday. Some said it was a milestone. Sunday night was spent packing, then on Monday we did final packing and weighing of the suitcases. Ethiopian Airlines is strict about overweight baggage.

Kel's sister Des arrived at 10 and we said our goodbyes to Dad – it's always hard to say goodbye, every time.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and checked our luggage thru. All cases are within the limit. After saying goodbye to Des (another hard one) we went thru security and passport control. Our flight left at 14h10, right on schedule. Kel was surprised to see the City of Pretoria 5 minutes after take-off. We flew directly over the city. Were hoping to see Mt Kiliminjaro later in the afternoon, but never did.

After landing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 20h30, we went thru security and secured our Hotel voucher (the airline put us up in the Riviera Hotel overnight) we boarded the shuttle. Had a late night supper the

went to bed. Our room faced the main road, so Kel heard the trucks all night.

Next morning (Tuesday, Dec 6) we were up and on our way after a good breakfast. We went thru security at the airport, then had 2 hours to wait before boarding the flight for N'Djamena. Christmas music was playing in the plane just before we landed. Gary had arranged for our faithful taxi driver to meet us, and he whisked us off to the TEAM (Evangelical) Mission compound to spend the afternoon and night.

We met several missionaries who come and go at this center. Gary & Darren came to meet us – they had flown to the capital the day before. It was soon evident that we had more business to attend to than time allotted. We ended up spending 3 days in the capital, shopping for supplies and going to various steelyards to get the steel we need to finish the hangar here on the mission station.

After a 2-hour flight we landed in Bere at 17h00. The day was done, and Wendy provided a delicious meal, which revived us. We are staying with Gary and Wendy until the accommodation in our mission compound is completed, then we can move back into our hut (now occupied by a couple, who will move to their place on the new GMI mission compound).

The mornings are cool, and the cold water in the shower is a shock to the body. We try to shower in the late afternoon, after a day's work. December & January are cooler months.

Today is Dec 24, the day before Christmas. Last night we participated in a Christmas music program at one of the volunteer's huts. There were solos, duets, trios and instrumentals. The hosts had a string of colored Christmas lights up – quite festive, for the bush! We even had ice-cold smoothies – quite a treat, thanks to their solar-powered refrigerator.

We miss you all – thanks for your prayers and support. God bless you in every way.

You can always drop us an e-mail at

Lots of love & hugs,

Josie & Kel

Friday, November 25, 2011

From the Deep South . . . Nov 23

We left Chattanooga on Tuesday, Nov 8, heading for Atlanta and our flight to Johannesburg via Frankfurt, Germany. Mom, Brett & Roger took us to the shuttle depot. Once again, goodbyes are hard - we look forward to seeing our family and friends again soon – may the time fly!

The flight from Atlanta went smoothly – it's the first time we've flown Lufthansa.

We landed at Frankfurt airport at around 9 a.m. On Wednesday. Our connecting flight was scheduled to be on an aircraft which neither of us has seen before - the Airbus A380-800 – which can only be described as colossal. It has two full-length decks – upper and lower. There are 4 engines on this aircraft – the clear distance inside the engine intake is 116” (9'-8”) – just huge!

We spent a day in Frankfurt waiting for our connecting flight to Johannesburg. The weather was foggy and cold. We saw 3 of these monster-planes pull up outside our exit gate during the 13-hour wait. The third was our flight to Johannesburg, which left at 10 p.m.

We were seated clear at the back of the plane on the lower deck. There were a lot of empty seats in our section of the plane, so Josie and Kel grabbed a row of 4 seats each and had reasonably good sleep during the night. Of course, being so far back, we were almost the last off the plane after it landed in Johannesburg on Thursday morning, but Passport Control and Customs went smoothly, and soon we saw Kel's sister Des, who had arrived to meet us.

The weather in the Southern Hemisphere is lovely – days are hot, and we've had soe good rains thus far. Everything is green – summer is in full swing. There's a sizeable veggie garden on Kel's dad's 50-acre farm where we are staying, so we are dining well.

Time is flying and there is much to keep one busy during the day – veggie gardening, water reticulation, seeing to 20 sheep, 2 cattle, 3 dogs, 5 cats and a host of poultry. All these mouths need to be fed and the sheep, cattle and fowls must be locked up each night, to keep them safe from predators. Speaking of fowls, last Sabbath, Nov 19, we returned from church to find a hen had hatched out all 11 of her chicks in the garden where she had her nest, so we caught mother and babies and transferred them to a safe environment.

Also, we have made several trips to town (a half-hour's drive) to buy
provisions and pay a visit to the Internet cafe, where we receive and send our e-mails. We miss just turning on the computer and accessing I-net.

Josie has been working on her sewing projects, and Kel has worked on more of the steel design for the airplane hangar in Chad, so our days have been full.

Today is Wed, Nov 23, and we are headed 3 hours north to pick up dad, who has spent several days visiting an old friend on his large farm in the Winterberg area. We will be driving Kel's sister's Fiat Palio, a sub-compact, as many of the vehicles here inSouth Africa are. During Dad's absence, his Yorkshire terrier has attached herself to Kel like a shadow – we wondered how she would do in Dad's absence, since she is very attached to him.

Well, we trust this report finds you in good health. We miss all of you and look forward to the day when we can be together with Jesus for eternity. Let's plan to be there!

Due to limited Internet access here in South Africa, and in Chad in the months ahead, we won't be able to read your comments on the blog, but you can always drop us an e-mail at

Lots of love & hugs,

Josie & Kel

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November - and time to flee the winter

We missed the winter of 2010, so haven't experienced the cold for a long time. November came in like a walking icicle - I told Josie, "We need to beat the birds outa here, and migrate to sunny Africa." It's not good to see the thick frost on the lawns - however, the autumn leaves look beautiful.
We leave for Africa on Tuesday, Nov 8. It will be different to go thru Germany this time. We are flying Lufthansa and will spend 10 hours in Frankfurt before boarding the connecting flight to Johannesburg, where we'll visit with Kel's family.
We've seen the evil one's hand trying to stop us (several times in the past few weeks) from continuing with our mission work in Chad, but each time our gracious God has intervened and pushed the enemy out of the way. Several miracles have occurred in the past few days - God is so good! We press forward with new courage.
We moved off White Oak Mountain this past Tuesday afternoon, to live with Mom for the next week. Many thanks to two special people (ex-missionaries themselves) who gave us accomodation in their lovely home on the mountain. We take with us some special memories. Thanks to Mom, also, for opening her house to us so graciously (again). God bless you!
The packing has begun - there are many last-minute things to do, as those of you who've traveled well know.
We leave behind some AWESOME friends - thank you for your support and prayers. Goodbyes are always difficult - but the anticipated hellos, when we return, make the parting easier.
The next blog message will be posted from the Deep South - and thereafter it will be African news for several months.
We pray God's blessing on you, the reader, and thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Keep the Son in your eyes.
With love,
Kel & Josie

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October News . . . 10-06-2011

Well, October took off with several events - we visited Lula Lake on Saturday afternoon. The river with its two water falls are up on Lookout Mountain. There's a nice trail to the falls, which we walked on after our picnic lunch.
Josie sang for a wedding last Sunday. Kel & the guys accompanied her on guitars & bass guitar. Then she sang on Monday night and Tuesday night for the Net 2011 "Prophecy Decoded" seminar in Nashville. We stayed in a motel both nights. Josie made her vocal CD available at the meetings and sold several (see
On Wednesday morning we made a kwik pass thru the City of Nashville on our way home. We have always driven past the city, on our way along I-65, I-24 or I-40, but never actually driven through the city. There are some cool steel bridges (old and modern) that cross the Cumberland River on the edge of City Center. We walked some on the Greenway along the river. Music City it definitely is, with many music hang-outs along the streets. There's a merging of the old and the new - old brick buildings and stone churches that date back 100 or more years, and new steel and glass skyscrapers. One doesn't get the feel of a concrete jungle, though. We were surprised at the "open" feeling of the city.
We have been swimming on Thursday nights. We missed a swimming pool when we were in Chad.
Hope this post finds you well - God is good!
Till later - Kel & Josie

Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer is Ending

Well, here we are in September already! Time flies - we've not been updating our blog like we should have been doing. Sorry for the delay. However, we've been quite busy - Josie has had several singing appointments (one of which took us to West Virginia and another to Virginia in June. We met up with the Hospital Director from Bere at a Camp Meeting in Virginia. He and his wife were back Stateside visiting family, and their new baby was also born during the home visit. The two of them have become friends and associates of ours). Josie has also made CD sales as we've travelled. We have also been to several churches of other denominations, where Josie has been invited to sing - God has beautiful people in the different churches, and it has been a blessing to also share with all the believers some news of our mission trip and show some photographs at the same time. We have received awesome support and prayers.
Kel has been busy this summer with design and drawings of the finishes to the airplane hangar, as well as making a construction drawing of a proposed new duplex residence for GMI staff. We need accomodation for the volunteers that come to help us on the mission.
Before we left Chad in May, the Hospital director approached Kel and asked him if he would assist with the design and drawing of a 20-year Master Plan for the Hospital. This he was glad to do, and has spent a chunk of time this summer, assisted by Brett, who is a proficient AutoCAD Technician, making drawings of the Hospital Site Plan, the new Private Ward, new Surgery Building, new Maternity Ward and a new Residence for additional doctor. It's been an awesome journey, as well as a fulfilled dream for Kel to use his design talents for the Lord's work on earth.
A new project in Malawi has also been crying out for attention, and Kel has offered to assess the structural integrity of the existing buildings on this campus.
Josie has also spent many hours this summer on her hobby: sewing & dressmaking. She has sewed some incredible dresses for her friends, as well as for the needy children of Chad. She hopes to publish some of the dressmaking miracles in a future blog.
Plans are to return to Chad in the next couple of months and complete the projects started, as well as start some new ones. Keep all the missionaries in your prayers.
We hope this finds you encouraged in the Lord Jesus, and confident of His help and presence in your lives. Keep courage! God is good.
Kel & Josie

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back Stateside - but wheels still turning

June 7, 2011
After a 3-day journey from Bere, we arrived in Atlanta, to be met by our sons Brett & Roger. They had driven from Collegedale to meet us. Our journey started at the bus stop in Bere. The bus ride to N'Djamena, the capital, takes about 6 hours. We counted 78 camels, in different little groups, about an hour south of the capital. Arrangements had been made for "our" taxi driver (we at Bere share him) to pick us up and take us to the TEAM Mission, where we spent a night and portion of the next day. Our flight left at 14h20, headed for Addis Ababa. From there we changed planes and headed for Dulles, Washington, via Rome. It was a L-O-N-G night. Arrived at a wet Dulles airport, due to overnight rains. After a 5-hour wait we boarded a flight for Atlanta, and were pleased to experience the sunshine and fluffy clouds in Atlanta. Folks were complaining that it was hot, but to us it felt like a nice day.
We were shocked to see the destruction in the Ringgold/Apison area as a result of the tornadoes that passed thru there in late April. The people along this path are still rebuilding. Many homes and buildings were removed from their foundations.
It has been a reverse culture shock to be in busy traffic, walk thru the well-stocked aisles at Wal-Mart, attend church in an air conditioned building and step into an actual bank. We notice the absence of ox carts and motorcycles - feels strange.
At present we are house sitting for a couple on White Oak Mountain in Collegedale while they are on vacation, so we take care of 3 dogs, 2 cats and a huge flower garden that needs watering.
Kel is designing and making drawings this summer for the remaining portions of the steel structures the guys were working on in Chad before we left. There is still much to do. Josie is getting ready to sing at two Camp Meetings later this month. She also has several other venues booked to sing at in July/August. She has another batch of CD's ready to sell, so will be quite busy with music presentation & sales this summer.
We trust our blog finds you in good health, and that your courage is good.
God bless each of you in your corner of labor.
Till later,
Kel & Josie