Friday, December 22, 2017

Nœl in Côte d'Ivoire

I am sitting at the bus station in Adjamé, Abidjan to wait for the next bus back to Bouaké. As I wait, I am opening my Bible to Luke 2. Bethany our Journey Corps volunteer asked me to read or speak verse 4 in German and send the video to her as she wants to put the first 20 verses in different languages together. As I was trying to memorize and then film myself saying that Joseph had to leave Nazareth to go to Bethlehem his birth town to get registered there because the Roman government at the time issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. Then it dawned on me, that it wasn’t just the people of Israel being on the move back to their birth towns, but the whole Roman world was on the road.

I was also on the road as the Ivorian government asked all immigrants outside the CEDEAO to register at the ONI (Organization of National Immigration) to get a residence permit for 5 years. Rod had a valid visa for a year so didn’t need to get registered yet. There were lots of people this morning to wait in line for their term of registration. I needed all sorts of documents like my birth certificate translated into French, a working permit, a police record certificate, etc.

Thinking about how they did it about 2017 years ago, I was wondering; 

·      Did Joseph and Mary have a birth certificate to prove they were born in Bethlehem? 
·      Did they get one for Jesus there? 
·      How long were the lines to get registered as the town was filled with people for this so that Joseph and Mary didn’t even find a shelter?

These were the circumstances and the right time, when God had Jesus, Immanuel, come into the world.

So God orchestrated this political registration at the time to keep his word as it was promised by the prophet Micah in chapter 5 verse 2, about 700 years B.C. that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and had the whole world moved to their birth towns, so that also Joseph would leave Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 
I can't even image what a chaos it might have been with lots of people walking from place to place finding shelter, then lining up to register in every town in the roman empire, then traveling back home again.

"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."                                                       Galatians 4, 4-5

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased."                                                  Luke 2, 14

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's the Little Things

 It's the little things that make a difference

Keeping in Touch with People is different in different Cultures

So I left my home and everything needing to be done and walked over to my American neighbors, just to say “Hi”. I arrived at the door and said “good morning”. “Oh hi there, do you need anything?” “No”, I said, "I just wanted to say good morning to you."  “Ah, ok", he said. I stood there outside, felt I was disturbing as he was working on his computer and then said good bye and left.

When I go to an Ivorian home and arrive at their court yard and say my greetings, they immediately ask me to come in and have a seat. They offer me a drink and then only ask me how I am doing and what kind of news I am bringing. I am always answering it’s good news and I just came to greet you. In Dioula: "Jug man té, forlilo". And we sit and talk a bit and then I ask to leave and continue my chores.

It’s very important to greet each other without a hurry and to see if everyone is ok. Also to call close friends on the phone regularly, not for long conversations, but just to say “hi” and letting them know that you are thinking of them.

I like that a lot about West Africa!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Different Cultures – Different Holidays

and how it all mixes together

Didn’t realize how important “Thanksgiving” is to my US American family and friends. Having grown up in Germany, I had never heard about Thanksgiving. It's such a beautiful celebration about remembering how two different cultures helped each other out and shared what God provided! It's a national holiday every 4th Thursday in November in the USA.

My first Thanksgiving, I celebrated in Kenia, with a Missionary Team, when I happened to be on a short-term mission trip, many years ago. What bothered me though was, that I got a German Email on Friday from a shoe company saying: “Der schwarze Freitag hat auch bei uns zugeschlagen” 30% auf Birkenstock. ( Black Friday has also hit us) I asked myself in German: What is Black Friday please?

We were in Kong this past Thursday, Thanksgiving day, with our Coulibaly Family and enjoyed being together. They prepared delicious food for us.

The next holiday in all the Christian World is Christmas. I guess it’s also celebrated in the non-Christian World. But not in Kong. In Islam and for our muslim family and friends “Mahoudi/Mawlid” will be celebrated next, from the evening of November 30 to the evening of December 1st this year. A big celebration of Mohamed’s birth where women getting ready to buy beautiful outfits. Such as it’s true with most holidays here in Côte d’Ivoire. The whole town is organizing and doing a parade, like it’s done in the US on the 4th July. Family and friends from all over the nation will be arriving in Kong to celebrate.

With all celebration goes delicious and special food and drinks, fellowship with family and friends and giving gifts. What’s important though is to remember why we celebrate and tell the story and always thanking God for his faithfulness and love.

A friend of mine just sent me a video where her German/American daughter is cooking a Thanksgiving meal with her German friend. So creative and good!

Clara und Carolin kochen für Thanksgiving 

The Menu
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
süße Kartoffeln
cranberry sauce
Cranberry Soße
sweet corn
süßer Mais
pumpkin pie