20 September 2005

We're Outta Here!

It would appear that we will soon be on our way outta here ! We have come to the end of our visit to this country and we are on our way back to Africa. We are going with mixed feelings. On one hand we are glad to be getting back to where life seems a little bit more normal, where the lives of pets and people do not hold similar values and where hurricanes and tropical storms are not blamed on the government but are still considered acts of God.

It has certainly been an interesting year back in this country. As we pack our bags we are sadden as well to know that some of you we will not be seeing for a very long time and others of you we may never see again. As with every departure some of you may be more overjoyed than others of you to hear of our imminent leave taking. Whatever your inclination however, our departure is on the books and in the works.

This time back, both Angelika and I will fly to Paris together. In Paris, on the other hand, I will fly on to Côte d'Ivoire and Angelika will continue on to Bamako, Mali where she is to attend a missionary women’s retreat in that city. I think she is excited to go and probably glad to be off on her own again for a spell. We hope to meet up in northern Côte d'Ivoire around the 26th or so when I am scheduled to have a meeting with our field leader.

I plan to get up to Bouaké around the 22nd or the 23rd all things being equal. Of course we know that they are not which would lead us to wonder just when we will get to Bouaké and even if. At this point the situation remains relatively calm although there is talk about renewing hostilities. One thing we are learning to weigh is the weight of words. After multiple peace talks and multiple peace accords signed and agreed to we are beginning to understand that many times men do not really mean what they say or sign. With that in mind, hearing all of the threats to take up hostilities again sounds a little far fetched. At the same time, we realize that it does not take much for a country like Côte d'Ivoire to fall into outright anarchy in a flash.

I had a great time the other day taking Doug Hazen on his first skydive. He is our Northwest Area Director for WorldVenture. He had wanted to make a jump with me for a number of months and it finally worked out for us both to end up at the same place on a sunny day in Oregon. He had a great time and so did I. Thinking about that jump now, I realize that he is the first boss I have ever jumped with! Pretty remarkable when you think about it, that he would trust the likes of me. Not to brag or anything (of course that is just what I am doing having said that I am not) but that should tell you how good an employee I am, or what a fool he is! I will let you be the judge!

You are probably wondering if we are going to keep up this blogging stuff once we hit Côte d'Ivoire. We certainly hope to but we will be at the mercy of the latest internet café scam that is going once we get there. I would expect that we will write more often, not having all the normal distractions you poor folks have to put up with in the West. Of course the fact that we will even be blogging might be an indication of how “West” we have become in this past year.

Speaking of West, some of you probably knew my good friend Doug West who died last month in London while on a ST missions trip. He had finished leading a team from Illinois in prayer before the morning’s activities and boom, he was down and died a few days later in hospital. The last time I had seen him he was picking up his daughter from Tadmor high school camp. He had been one of those guys that prayed for me and then us ever since we began this missions stuff back in 1986. He became a champion for me in the early days making t-shirts for the “Côte d'Ivoire Skydiving Club” (the t-shirts were his idea and it might have taken off had it not been for this little war we have going on) and even coming out and skydiving with me. Now you know a friend is a friend when he will do such a thing with you! Doug did. But what I am going to miss the most are is short notes of encouragement out of the blue and his dedication to pray for us. I am sure God has got that end of things worked out though or else he would not have taken Doug out of the equation. I know that Corban College, formally known as Western Baptist College, where Doug used to work, is missing him greatly as well. His kids, all three, are missing him a great deal as is Carrie his wife. Our loss, though great, is nothing compared to theirs. If you think about it you could pray for Carrie and Doug’s kids. They are great. God is going to use this in their lives in ways we may never know. Wow, to pray and then die, what an idea. Can you imagine, talking to God and then to find yourself standing before Him! Now that is living right or something.

So it has been an amazing year being back in this country where all Wal-Marts look the same and everyone speaks English for the most part. It has been an interesting 12 months and it will be good to get back to some measure of normality. Think of us from time to time and again, if you are in the habit of talking to God about your friends, you might mention us to him. Then again, if you are not in that habit you might let us know and we will pray for you! To all of our friends and family we say goodbye!

Rod and Angelika

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