Saturday, May 31, 2008
Hey! Did you know that we have a picture gallery for you to look over? Either click on the link on the left side under the calendar or go here! Hope you enjoy looking over things going on in Niger through our pictures.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Let it Rain
Friday, May 16, 2008
Potratz Misson Update May 16 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Randy has asked me to write this update. The last few updates have been more about the ministries he is involved in and he feels bad about it. So, here goes.
About 3 weeks ago Justin and Noah were in the play "Princess Bride". Noah played the Grandfather and did a nice job. One his teachers said he will make a handsome grandpa some day. Noah continues to have his basketball in his hand and plays when he can. It's Noah's turn to catch up to Mom in height. He should be almost as tall or taller than me when we return home. Noah will also be a much better swimmer before he gets home. They are doing a swimming unit in PE and he is improving, even if he is belly breaking the water on his dives yet. He has a good instructor and he has come a long way considering he could hardly swim before coming to back to Niger. He is truly enjoying being in Africa.
Justin played the character Inigo in the play "Princess Bride". The first night he helped by add libbing while thoughts were gathered during a mix up in the scenes. He even gave some blood for the play. He was cut by some duct tape near his eye during one of the sword play scenes. He is fine. He got a lot of compliments on how well he did. Thanks to having watched old Red Skelton skits, he played a great drunk Inigo.
Justin is asking about how he can live for Jesus each day, and taking his walk with the Lord seriously. He is growing physically as well and every night before devotions he does his push ups. Justin has been swimming also. He is in the stronger swimming group. He loves the challenge. He is not as agile or quite as fearless as some of his classmates but he keeps right up with them.
Chris has been busy with his classmates raising money for their class trip. They sponsored a garage sale and provided a snack bar for intermission during the play. His class wants to travel to the beach in Benin for their class trip. There will be 10 students next year so they are getting a good start. Chris took the SAT last Sat, but is not really sure how he did. This past week he and his classmates have been praying for one of the boys in his class who was hit by truck. The young man was given an emergency passport to Paris to have surgery to reset a broken collar bone and dislocated shoulder. Chris is swimming too but not with as much enthusiasm as his little brothers but is enjoying the fellowship the his classmates. Chris has also been busy gathering information from colleges. He has some "big ideas". Oh, my! How time flies! He was a baby in our arms not that long ago and now he's almost out the door.
The Lord has something very special planned for each our/His boys. I get the privilege for praying for them and watching them grow up both physically and spiritually.
As for me, Wanda, the Lord has blessed me with a part-time position so that I can enjoy what a Mom likes to do, be a Mom. I have been busy with teaching and taking kids to the pool here in Niamey. For the next 4 Mondays the student body has swimming class. I am helping the swimming instructor in the morning and am just a driver for the secondary students in the afternoon. I am glad that I can help with the secondary students because this gives me a chance to get to know them better. I have truly enjoyed teaching half days.
Hadiza, our house help, has been able to help me with some French as we discuss things. I don't know if I remember everything I try to repeat, but it's been good. Between staff and curriculum meetings I have been able to do some gardening. Carol D., I need your green thumb! This weekend for Mother's Day, Randy and I are going to venture out to a plant nursery to buy some more plants. The boys won't like this because they are the ones who will have to water them. Randy said I should make this my home while we are here so that's what I am trying to do.
Last weekend, Randy and I were able to participate in the "Family Life Weekend to Remember". We stayed at one of the many guest houses in Niamey. It wasn't the Hilton but we couldn't afford that anyway. The facilitators were from Kansas. They lived had lived in Burkina for a number of years and pray that they will be able to return to minister to the college aged students in Burkina. He has farming background and hers was Mennonite. A nice couple and a very good weekend.
At school our summer will be filled with moving our old school media center to the new one and moving some classrooms around. I will try to keep you up dated on how the moves go. The boys are hoping mom doesn't keep them to busy because they will want to swim and be with those friends who won't be traveling out of country.
Thank You so much for your prayers because I know I wouldn't be in Africa without them. Also, because of those faithful givers, we wouldn't be here either. I miss you and would love for you to come and visit, especially for Chris' graduation next year. God Bless you all!
Wanda for the boys,
* 3 and half weeks of school left
* A/C in living area making it bearable in the heat
* good family and friends (that's you)
* endurance to make it through the heat
* attitudes to be good at school and home
* for exams coming up
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Update May 7 2008
Hello to Everyone,
Thank you for praying Hello to Everyone,
Thank you for praying for the trip we took to Galmi. Things went pretty well, and the travel was safe for Jean and I. On the way out to Galmi we took SIMAIR. This was Jean's first time in an airplane, and one of his reactions was that pilots do not have an easy job! The picture this time is Jean in the right side of the cockpit just before take off. The flight to Galmi from Niamey takes about 1hr and 30 minutes and costs about 10 times as much as the bus, but the bus comes with a variety of drawbacks that we can talk about later.
We were able to cover most of our objectives, plus a few others we found after arriving in Galmi. On the downside, there are a couple of things I am still working on as time permits in Niamey. We could use prayer for two things in particular. One is an Access databasethe pharmacy at the hospital uses and second is to codify and get screen shots of the restore procedure for the server at Galmi.
The database issue I could use prayer that the Lord gives me wisdom on how to repair it. There are some parts of the database that do not seem to be getting data from the proper tables. The prayer for the restore procedure would be that we can recreate the SME server environment using virtual machinesin the office in Niamey to be able to test that the data and user information are being restored properly using the procedure we have mapped out.
Jean learned quite a bit while we were there, and together we asked questions about the problems we saw and how best to fix them. Such practices will help him to think critically about issues as we face them this next year. It was also interesting to see Jean in a place where he knew many of the people. He grew up east of Galmi in Maradi, but many of his family members live in Galmi, as does his fiancÃ©e. So when we were not working, we were greeting many people! On Sunday we were also able to go to the Hausa church in Galmi.
The bus rideback was 7 hot, non-air-conditioned, mouth drying, grueling hours. We joked that the bus ride had at least one similarity to the SIMAIR flight. We found ourselves in the air much of the time as we hurtled through bumps and holes in the road alternating from road construction, to road deterioration! I for one, was very happy to see the final bus terminal in Niamey, and finally home. Thank you for your prayers for this trip.
The next trip we have out of Niamey, will likely not be for at least a month, but we continue to tackle computer issues in Niamey, at the office, at the Esprit bible school, and the FEU ministry to university students. As an example, Monday the 28th of April we arrived at the office and were greeted to a toasted server. Power surgesover the weekend had fried one but spared another (Yes, they are on UPS's, so you can imagine the level of the power surges). The last time we had a major server loss in 2005, I spent 3 days rebuilding the system. Because of redundancy, and a good backup cycle, we were able to be up and fully running in 3 hours. God is good!
Items for prayer:
1- Praise that the A/C issue has been resolved and it is finally working in our living room. There are a few other electrical issues to be worked out in the house, but we are so thankful that the Lord has been working things out.
2 - The car still remains in limbo. The paper work for it and some other things going through exoneration have been lost, and we are restarting the process. Hopefully we will see a speedier resolution this next time around.
3 - As we do get the car licensed, we might be looking to resell it as soon as we can. The support levels we are receiving thus far are not where we need them to be, so we will be tightening our belts. Pray that those who thought they would be able to partner with us at past levels will be able to do so, and that others may be led to partner with the ministry the Lord has given to us here.
4 - Chris had a softball hit him in the eye. He did have his glasses on, and they took the brunt of the blow. Those of you who know the past experience we had with Chris and a blow to the head he received in 2006, know this could have not been good news to us! He appears to be ok, with no blurriness of eyesight, or headaches, which is another praise!
5 - The kids (and Wanda) have 3 and a half weeks of school yet. But it is also moving into one of the hottest parts of the year. Pray that they finish strong.
6 - Continue to pray for my work with Jean, that I am able to teach him, disciple him, and that we have a good working and personal relationship.
7 - Pray that the Lord guards our attitudes when things do not go well, or we thinkthey are not going well. Help us to see our ways are not always His ways. Mold us to His ways.