Tuesday, September 10, 2013



Dennis Roth
Your descendants shall gather your fruits. -- Virgil

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

short post

not much today because I am trying to type on a french keyboard, everything
good, great training, another this afternoon: will be in the bush for a few
days, healthy; happy; and blessed,

short post

not much today because I am trying to type on a french keyboard, everything
good, great training, another this afternoon: will be in the bush for a few
days, healthy; happy; and blessed,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back in Togo

We are back! It is good to be back in Togo once again. It seems like every
trip is a new adventure and this one has been no exception. We came a new way
this time by traveling from Atlanta direct to Accra, Ghana and then drove three
and a half hours to Lome. Everything went without a hitch….almost. In fact, it
went a little too well. When we stepped off the plane we breezed through
immigration and customs with barely a pause. After we walked out of the airport
Daniel was standing there ready to greet us. He even had a taxi ready and
waiting for us. Therefore we stepped off of an eleven hour flight into a van
for a three + hour ride. The taxi ride went great with only one extra pitstop
for me(note to self – take even more Dramamine). Needless to say we were ready
to get to our room at the conference center here in Lome.

We will still debate if this is the best way to go if the price were
the same. With the price difference, I am cheap enough to choose this way every
time. The travel is harder without a break, but it is over much sooner.
Tomorrow we will spend the day in Lome exchanging money and doing
some site seeing…and resting.

It looks like we will only have access to the internet maybe twice the whole
trip so we will not be posting much. My new computer does not have a port for a
land line so we have to go to an internet cafe to get online. Not too bad but
not as easy to get to. Today we stayed in Lome exchanging money, buying some
bibles to take to the village, and shopping a bit. Nothing real profound today,
but always good to be back here enjoying the sights and sounds of Lome. Not so
much the smells!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Update from Togo

September 4,5
We have spent the last two day in Mission Tove (N 6 degrees 19.071 E 1 degree
7.320) at Pastor Daniel house(Bello Yawo).  We actually stayed at the house of
one of his church member's.  IT was a concrete block house of three rooms, one
of which is a storage room.  There was actually a bed and a couch there so we
slept comfortably.  I will spare you all the details, but it was a bit
primitive.  I was able to mark up a first for me: taking a shower out of a
bucket.  I told Daniel yesterday that every trip to Togo is my new favorite
trip.  This time we have spent a majority of our time out of Lome in the rural
area.  This has always been my favorite area but it was easier to stay in the
Conference Center than anywhere else.   So having the opportunity to stay out
here and not drive an hour+ everyday is a treat.  Even if we have to take a
shower out of a bucket.   We went to church with Daniel at Mission Tove which
was a treat.  He started the church and it now had 243 in his congregation last
Sunday.  He started the church in 1992.  He really is a great man and we are
blessed to be able to work with him. 

Today we came to Keve.  We are staying in a hotel here that is not bad for
Africa.  It doesn't have air conditioning but it does have toilets and showers,
which is more than I can say for the last place.  Tomorrow morning we will start
the training in Badja with a group of 20-25 pastors.   As I understand only one
of them is an ordained pastor and the rest are leading churches and preaching
every week but since they have no training they cannot be ordained.  This
training will mean a lot to them.  To gain credibility in the community and
respect from their church it is helpful to be ordained.  However, they simply
have no access to this kind of training.  Since this training was approved for
ordination, they should all be anxious to complete it.  We will see.
Both Lary and I are in great health and feeling good.  The jet lag was minimal
so that has not been a problem either.  We are taking a lot of precaution eating
and drinking and it has paid off.  Lary has this new gadget that "nukes" the
water with an UV light.  It is supposed to kill everything in the water.  I am
convinced it was a great investment.
Pray for the training tomorrow.  We are excited to see what God will do.
September 6
What a tiring day!  We got up at 6 to prepare for the training and for the trip
to Badja where the "classroom" is located.  We hired a local taxi to take us
there and it cost us $10, which I thought was a lot to go 6 miles.  I later
learned that taxis have a route they take and you pay for the whole route no
matter how far you are going when you hire one that doesn't pick up other
passengers.  In Togo, if you get a taxi you only are purchasing a seat, not the
whole thing.  Therefore, if another person needs a ride they will stop and pile
them in.  We were able to get the full experience on the way back. It was late
in the day and there were not many taxis out so we had to share a ride.  Lary
and I were two of fourteen in this taxi, which is not uncommon here.  In fact,
that is probably average for what we see here.  Often you will see at least that
many plus a few goats and chickens to make the experience even more fun. 

The training session went really well.  We had nineteen sign up when we were
here in June.  We had twenty five show up today.  Word has gotten out that this
training will be accredited by the Baptist Convention of Togo.  Daniel has said
that church leaders are calling him now wanted to be a part but he has to turn
them away.  The training is not as effective with a larger group so we limited
it to twenty five pastors.  At that time we didn't think we would have that many
so it wasn't a big issue.  Now, Daniel and I have decided to split the group up
in to two regions.  This may complicate my project, but I will figure that out
as I go.  The main thing is we are training pastors in this region and they are
responding incredibly!  Splitting into two regions helps in two ways.  First,
many of them will not have to travel as far.  One man rode his bicycle 19 miles
one way to get to the training.  While I am impressed with his diligence, I
cannot expect him to do that every week, especially during the rainy season. 
The second way it will help is the size of the group.  If we split it up into
two regions we could theoretically have two groups of twenty five in the
training.  While this is a bit ambitious, I will not under-estimate what God may
do here.  They value the education and the opportunity to learn.  Some may go
through the program and go off to the seminary in Lomè then on to other
opportunities in the city.  While that is not my initial desire, it is still a
good thing.  The purpose of the training in the rural areas is to train rural
pastors so they can be more effective in those same areas.  If they leave, they
have not had the impact where we have intended.  I also realize that a rising
tide raises all ships.  Meaning, if we are educating pastors and church leaders,
the kingdom benefits regardless of the location.
The men sat on wooden benches six hours today while Daniel and I taught.  I was
tired of standing but I cannot imagine how tired they were of sitting on these
benches.  I went through the initial information and pre-tests to test their
knowledge of the subject matter and then we took a 15 minute break.  That break
was after two hours of tests and information.  We then started again and went
another four hours with no break.  I was hungry and wanted to take a break but
they insisted that we keep going.  So we started at nine and went straight
through to three o'clock.  I stopped teaching at 2:45 but then Daniel spoke for
a while about the possibility of breaking into two groups and identifying a
location to meet. 

Today we taught on the Priority of Scripture and the Purpose of Scripture in the
life of the pastor.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 1

We started off the day a little concerned how it would end.  We were very
concerned about a couple of things.  First, we really needed to get a Ghana visa
today even though we had not applied for it ahead of time.  We understand that
it normally takes two days to get a visa.  This would not be a problem except
for the fact that we were not planning on being back in Togo until the day we
leave and need the visa.  If anything would happen and we could not get it we
would have no way home as our flight leaves form Accra, Ghana.  We cut it a bit
close but, we actually applied for the visa at 9:30am and, with God's provision
and a lot of kind words, got our visa at 2:00!  We have another story about
getting our visa that was far more dramatic than it will sound here, but we were
told that the visa would be ready at 2pm so we ran several errands and went back
to the conference center.   As things happen often with me, I got to chatting
with a couple of the locals and didn't leave here until 1:40 which I thought was
no problem.  After looking at the receipt they gave us when we dropped of our
passports, it said the office CLOSED at 2pm.  It took us 30 minutes to get there
the first time and Lary and I showed a great deal of concern(panic) to our
driver.  Let me just say that we made it the second time in 18 minutes and Lary
and I had our eyes closed most of the trip!  I could describe it by saying this:
think nascar in downtown NYC.  I normally am ok with driving through Lome, but
this was a totally new experience!
Today we met Happy.  Yes that is his name.  He is an older gentleman that I
really like.  He is somewhat of a scholar and writer.  He is now working on a
book and he also produces Christian television shows here in Lome.  He keeps up
with his Greek and Hebrew and is a champion of discipleship(surprising, huh). 
He was very interested in the training program we have put together and gave me
some good information regarding the way to teach in this culture.  He has a good
understanding of the differences in how Westerners and Africans use language.  I
won't bore you with it now, but it was fascinating to me.  He proofread my
French documents and made a few changes for me.   We had a great time talking
this evening.  It is always encouraging to meet people like him here.  We are
finding those we can trust and those we cannot, but the more people we find that
we can trust, the more they introduce us to others we can trust.    
Tomorrow we head to Mission Tove to spend two days there.  We will go to Pastor
Daniel's church on Sunday and then Sunday evening we will head to Keve.   Here
is our schedule:  Saturday- Mission Tove with Daniel to visit his farm and work
along side of him for a day, Sunday- go to church with Daniel and head to Keve,
Monday – training all day with the pastors, Tuesday – hang out with a business
owner and watch him work and teach us something(not sure what this is yet) and
head back to Lome in the evening, Wedneday – meetings at the seminary and then
head to Accra for the trip home. 

I can receive texts here for free so please send me messages.  It is costly to
reply but I do on occasion.  I can also receive phone calls if there is an
emergency(for $3.50 per minute).  I am very pleased that my new US phone works
here.  It makes it seem like we are connected a bit more. 

Since we will be out in the rural areas, we will not have access to email, no
electricity, no fresh water, or good food, or…… Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 9

Day 9
Today was a bitter sweet day as it was the last day in the village for three of us. Tomorrow we will spend the day in Lome preparing to leave and doing a bit of shopping. We did end up going to Bagbe today and had a great time. We did the training for the children's workers and also spent some time prayer walking and sharing Christ with some of the people we ran into. This particular village has a much stronger Voo-do presence than most of the other villages. We walked no more than 100 yards and saw four different idols and then Dsniel took us to an area that was known as the "idol woods". It was a small grove of trees where they offered sacrifices regularly. It had a special platform for offering sacrifices and one tree and one bush that was an idol to worship. It is so strange to see how people could worship something such as a bush, but I suppose we worship stranger things in our own way in our society.
This village also was a bit more remote than some of the other villages, so the people were very excited to see us. When we arrived in the village the children come up to the van chanting "Yo-Vo, Yo-Vo" which means something like "white person" or "foreigner". It truly is a big deal when someone white comes to these villages. Everyone gets excited to see why we have come. This is why our work here is welcomed by the local believers. It lends credibility to their own work when someone from outside comes in and validates their their message. The people are so generous and hospitable to us insisting that we sit down while we talk with them. Every time I have been to Togo I have been treated with such kindness and hospitality. The people are genuinely kind and considerate to each other, much more so than in most parts of the US.
Today, when we got back to the conference center, we went for a long walk around the community. We were greeted with chants of "Yo-vo" and "bon soir", French for "good afternoon". We really stick out here and we get a lot of stares but have always been treated with respect and kindness. We were once again amazed at the commerce along the street. You can find just about anything you need by just asking around. With-in a one block area of where we are staying, all dirt roads, you can find everything from fresh pork, to laundry soap, tomato paste, phone cards, pocket calculator, sunglasses, perfume, iron gates, spaghetti noodles, and the list goes on and on. No shop is much bigger than 8' by 10' but they carry such a wide variety of items. Most all of them are at the front door or porch of their homes. Anyway, every time I come I am in awe of how you can find the strangest things in these little shops. This is not to mention on top
of some ladies head. They carry EVERYTHING on top of their heads here. It is very common for the ladies to carry items they are to sell for the day on top of their heads. They walk around until they sell what they have and then go get more. It is so different than from the US and you kind of have to see it to fully understand. I have been here three times and I am still learning so much about the culture. You will have to ask Lary about the ten chickens in a bowl on top of a ladies' head!
Suffice it to say, we have had a great time and, although I am ready to see my family, I hate to leave. This will probably be my last post so let me say thank you for praying for us. It truly has been a blessed trip and I couldn't have asked for a better group to travel with!
Be sure to check out Elisa's blog post about Lary's top ten "Things That Caught My Eye!" list! www.elisaorr@blogspot.com