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In my last post, I mentioned that Jeremy and I had planned to walk to school. We did that for a couple of times but the weather has not been very accommodating. It had either been raining or it was just too cold.

Anyway, last Monday I decided that we needed to resume our walk to school. Jeremy protested and said that it was still too cold. He really did not like the exercise and had gotten used to the ride to school or so I thought.

I asked Anthony what the temperature was and was told that it was in the low 30s. So I told Jeremy that if we bundled up, we could make the walk to school and added that we would get warm once we started walking. After some fussing from him, we were out of the door. We walked to the front of the house when Jeremy said that he wanted his scarf so we went back into the house. With the scarf round his neck and mouth, we set off again. It was cold and Jeremy was complaining, but I was determined to walk. He fussed a little but went along with my decision. This time we walked to the first intersection (3 houses down the road) and crossed it. By then, I had to admit that with the wind blowing, it was getting just too cold. We were sniffing and there were “tears” in our eyes. I looked at Jeremy and told him that he was right and I was wrong and that t was just too cold to walk. He smiled and we laughingly returned to the house. I got the car keys and we drove happily to school. When I came back, Anthony said that the wind chill was about 12 degree!

That incident started me thinking about what a privilege it is to be accepted and be able to admit that I am wrong. I make mistakes in my judgments. I am not perfect and never will be till my Lord changes me. But it is OK. I can change and move on to do what is right. My son accepted me and loved me anyway. I praise and thank God for accepting us as we are and for being so patient with us even in our stubborn ways. May we continue to learn and change to become the “Image of His Son”. Have a GREAT WEEK!

 

 

Like much of the country, winter made it to Albany this past week. We called off Sunday services — the first time in anyone’s memory that has happened — due to icy road conditions. The kids were out of school Monday and had late starts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But Wednesday was the big day for the Parker household — That’s the day Jeremy and Jonathan got to play in the snow for the first time in their lives!

The only winter that Jeremy has spent in the States was when he was three years old, the winter of 2001-02 — the year we adopted Jonathan. That year we missed the snow a couple of times because of our travels and the most we saw was a few flurries.

Wednesday morning the boys were so excited to get out in the snow. In keeping with the “You can take the boy out of Africa, but you can’t take the Africa out of the boy motif,” Jonathan just can’t seem to accept that you just have to wear shoes in winter in America.


And to think that my boys’ first snowballs were aimed at dad …

Come see us in Albany and visit Shackleford county’s historic restored court house just one block from our house. ______________________________________________________________
On a much less playful note, I extend my sympathy to all the friends and family of Adam Langford and Moses Kimeze who were serving God in Uganda when they were killed in a truck crash this week. One insightful commenter on Mike Cope’s blog noted that, when praying for missionaries in the developing world, we need to remember that the greatest physical danger is not terrorists or disease (though these are real dangers), but traffic. Sadly, that has been my experience. First Nancy, then Cyndi, and now Adam and Moses.

Not long before his death, Adam had written in his blog quoting Mahatma Gandhi as saying, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Adam added in his own comments, “…I am beginning to believe we need more people who are willing to enter into the suffering of others whether they can help or not. I want to choose suffering for the sake of others.”

Adam and Moses, your service was not insignificant, and your suffering is over.

One day, last week, I went walking with Jeremy and Jonathan just to become familiar with the route to Jeremy’s school. Our first few weeks in Albany, Jeremy took the school bus to school, but since we need the exercise we decided that we would walk to school in the morning and he will only take the school bus back after school.

There are a few roads that lead to his school and they are pretty close to one another. The road we live on is one of them.  It’s a pretty straight shot to his school though the road curves a bit. It’s about 0.8 miles with quite a lot of intersections. We started off that day, but at the 2nd intersection, I decided to take a left turn and go on the next road thinking that it would be a shorter way to his school since we would avoid the curves in the road. We walked and walked and thought that we should be near the school but it was still not in sight. Jonathan suggested that we might be lost. I was pretty sure that we would soon see the school so continued walking. Somehow, as we crossed the various intersections, instead of staying on the one road, we had walked to another road without realizing it. I must admit that I was a little unfamiliar with where we were though I know that we would not be too far off. (Albany is a small town). Since we had made a left turn along the way, I realized that we had to turn and veered right when we came to the next intersection. Anyway, we finally saw the school. We were a couple of streets off where I thought we were supposed to be! It took us 45 minutes to walk to the school instead of the 20 minutes that it would have if we had gone on that “straight” road.

The experience reminded me of our Christian life. Jesus is the Way and if we live our lives guided by Him, we will reach our destination, our eternal abode with God. But if we decide to wander off and look for our own ways, we may get “lost” and not find our way.  I am so glad that we have a choice to change our ways when we realize our mistake. Praise God for His patience with us.

Four things have happened this week that have made me think a lot about West Africa – well, really, there are more than four, but I’m going to talk about four here. On Saturday we had a gathering of former missionaries to West Africa at the Hollands’ home. Jeff, Brenda, Josiah, Ellianna, and Rebecca, our teammates from Togo, live in Abilene, about 30 minutes from Albany. Jeff is getting a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to the Hollands and our family, the Wilsons (our teammates in Benin), the Baileys (who worked among the Aja in Benin), and the McVeys (20 yr. veterans to Ghana), were present. We talked some about Africa, but mostly we just enjoyed being together. There is a feeling of understanding and being understood when you’re with those you’ve served with.

Hanging out with old friends — Andy Wilson & Dan McVey (but who was I boxing?)

The second incident was a couple of nights ago when Maureen made fufu for us to eat. Fufu is made from boiled and pounded yams and/or plantain – it sort of resembles sticky mashed potatoes. Of course, the secret is in the sauce. Our favorite is groundnut (peanut) soup, which Maureen made with the help of peanut butter. The boys jumped for joy when they heard we were having fufu. Jonathan announced that this was the first time he had eaten fufu in Texas—a truly momentous occasion!

You can taken the boy out of Africa …

Today I attended a meeting of some of the CofC ministers in the area. We enjoyed a good time of fellowship. I discovered that one of them believes that God is leading him and his family—along with several others—to West Africa of all places. (I can’t say who because he is a preacher and his church does know yet.) We compared notes and shared memories and dreams. It was definitely a God-thing that we met.

Finally, today I was looking on the Blogger home page and happened to scroll down far enough to find this blog of a Peace Corps worker in Togo. He has some great video that gives you a feel for Togo, especially this one. (I still haven’t figured out how to link to/embed YouTube. Any help out there?)

It is hard to imagine being persecuted and blamed for the death of your own daughter whom you love and whose death is not your fault. But this is situation of our dear sister, Ablavino, in Tabligbo, Togo.  We received the sad news that Ablavi, Ablavino’s daughter, died and she was persecuted and blamed by her husband and family for her daughter’s death. The reason is because Ablavino is the only Christian in her family of voodoo worshippers.

I plead with you to mourn with Ablivino and pray for her that God’s Spirit be with her and that He will bless her with His strength to go through this time of bereavement. This sister has gone through a lot for her faith and she is being tested yet again. It was reported that when some Christians went to visit, pray and encourage her, she responded with tears in her eyes, "I will receive everything that God gives with thanksgiving."  Praise God for her faith.  What a great encouragement! May God give us the faith and strength to walk with Him through this life whatever life brings our way!

 

I’m a little late getting Christmas pictures posted, and I realize that these may only be of interest to a small group, but these are some folks that are important to me.

Before that, the big news today is that Maureen has posted! Let’s hold her to that New Year’s resolution.

Me and my boys on Christmas morning

The greatest parents in the world!

Games are always going on around the Parker house. Usually, with my parents, its Rummy, UpWords, or Boggle. Here Maureen is playing Cranium with my sister Carla and her daughter Abby.

Music is always important. This year we discovered the musical talents of my newest brother-in-law, Tony Myrick. He has written some great songs that we think are professional quality. Left to right are Derrick Munson (a foster brother), Tony, my dad (Alton), Jeremy, and my sister Carla.

Jonathanloves to play the guitar with Pawpaw (he’s the elf) and this year he got his own!

Here are Maureen and Jonathan with of my nieces (Emma Grace and Abby), my nephew Drew, and his girlfriend Amanda.

More young ‘uns. My sister Ramona’s sons, Wesley and Ethan, with Carla’s daughter Ella.

Jonathan did a great job of playing with Emma Grace on this trip. She loves to follow him around and when he’s not in sight she’s always asking, “Where’s Jon Jon?”

Somehow I missed out on getting pictures of my older sister Ramona and her husband Ken. I have one of my youngest sister Bridgette but she is very pregnant and probably would not appreciate my posting it!

I thought I would have started back to writing after my arrival in the States last June but…….. Each time I wanted to share what was going with my life, there just seemed to be so many things I wanted to say. I felt that I had to start from the beginning of my life in the States and I was intimidated by the task. Week after week passed and the stories I wanted to share seem to be old news and so my blogs never were written.

Well, the New Year has arrived, so I am determined to leave last year behind and start anew. Before I do, I just want to ask you to praise and thank the Lord with me for guiding, protecting and leading us and finally, bringing us here to Albany, Texas. I believe Anthony has kept you all up to date about our travels and our time in Alabama. I praise God for the wonderful people (His people) that He has sent to bless our lives along the way. Thank you!

Well, here goes my first blog in 2007! I made some curry puffs (kind of a meat and potato patties with a curry flavor) for the church New Year’s Eve get together. I was using a pastry cutter to cut round shapes out of the pastry dough thinking that I would have uniform curry puffs! But I was mistaken. Though the dough was cut evenly, by the time I put the fillings in and shaped them, every one was different. Some were “prettier” than others and some were not so nice looking, but they were all basically the same – same pastry and filling. They will taste the same and I was not going to discard them just because they were not so pretty. As I looked at them, it reminded me that we are all similar to those pieces of pastry. God made each of us in his own image and yet we are different. Some are pretty and others are plain. Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and for others, life is just hard. Some are good and faithful and others, they just seem to mess up all the time. Nevertheless, God still loves every one of us the same, despite our differences and He will never consider anyone worthy of being discarded. I praise and thank Him for accepting us as we are.

By the way, Jonathan and Jeremy were very excited that I made those curry puffs as they really enjoy them, especially Jonathan, and they reminded him of our time in Togo when I made them often.

Happy New Year and May God bless you richly and your walk with Him be ever more intimate.