Friday, June 19, 2015

Costly Attack of Terrorism for Chadians

Where do I begin......I guess I will say that life will never be the same here in N'Djamena. Chadians have been very proud of their military in the fight against Boko Haram in Cameroon and Nigeria.....taking a real and costly stand against Islamic fundamentalists....threats were made against Chad.....but they did not back away and continued to rescue many villages and cities who were desperate for help.

On Monday, June 15, the very first attack in the capital city of N'Djamena took place in the form of 2 suicide bombers targeting the police station and a police training academy. Around 20 people lost their lives and over 100 severely injured, and the death toll is rising as already overwhelmed hospitals try to treat major injuries with limited medical resources.

In the days following the bombings, we have seen and experienced one of the after-effects of this kind of random yet coordinated strike.....fear. The normal way of life here has been changed, maybe forever. Yes, people are still out and about, markets and stores are open and people are back to work, but movements are cautious, police and military are out in full force, personal security checks on bridges, and as you enter the Grand Marché (frisking, security wand etc.), and a ban has been placed on the Islamic full face veil (reports say that the police are burning all of the full face veils sold in the market) and also, rumors have been flying of other attempted suicide bomb attacks being thwarted by the police etc. All of our American Embassy friends have strict bans placed on going out, meeting in groups or having people over to their houses until further notice. We have been advised not to take children with us into town as their presence could slow our reaction time if something should happen. Only time will tell how long these precautions will be in place. For now, I am staying close to home with the girls, and only going out when necessary (ie: we ran out of milk powder and cat food on Tuesday so I went into town briefly, without incident).

Phil on the other hand has a busy week of flying this with 2 overnight trips and a day trip.....the side of the airport that MAF is located (customs area) is completely closed and in order to access the airport they have been parking their vehicle on the main road and walking 15 minutes into the airport and to the hanger. Totally unsustainable long-term as customs usually has 100 or more trucks picking up shipments daily....keep in mind that most products for sale have been imported into Chad.....all of the import shops rely on air shipments for resupply, so it could be interesting to see the effects if this customs closure continues for a while.

I told the girls about what had happened because I figured they were either going to overhear someone (me?) talking about it or find out from one of their friends. They asked a lot of why's and were desperately trying hard to understand why someone would want to blow himself and others up....hard to answer that one. Today they were imagining a scenario with some little figures, and I overheard them say something about a bomb going off as part of their story line....Hmmm.....not many 6 and 7 year old girls include that kind of thing in their play.....the things they have been exposed to in their short lifetime....Praise God they don't seem too shaken up by it all....I guess that is the beauty of being a long as mom and dad are calm and cool, then the kids feel safe. Praise God for that.

I think one of the hardest things about life after these attacks (which were a 5 minute drive from our house)  is the not knowing if this is the beginning of something or if it was just a one time heart wants to think it won't happen again, but my head is telling me otherwise. We'll just have to wait and see.

For now, our movements around the city are cautious and we are praying for safety and peace for Chad and all who live and work in the city of N'Djamena.

I know God is in control and we have nothing to fear...but I'm human, and a mother, and a when fear starts producing many 'what if' thoughts and playing out different scenarios in my mind....I pray for peace to replace fear, after all....I know this is exactly where God wants our family now.....and we will rest in the safety of God's will.

Thanks for praying.

Here is a link to the news story if you would like to read more details about the situation here in N'Djamena:

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's worth it.

Mother's Day. I have witnessed many facebook well-wishes to mothers and beautiful memories and tributes all around the world....and it got me thinking.....

It's funny. Before you have your own kids, you don't really hear about all the craziness that comes after having, naturally it was just one big shock to my dream of motherhood when I slowly found all these things know, the not-so-fun side of being a mother. I know, I know, you are if she just said that! But, I know for a fact, that every.single.mother has had those moments of wanting to throw in the towel....if ever so brief....we have all had them. Whether it was in the midst of a 2 year old tantrum or out of sheer exhaustion at 3 am when the word 'sleep' has become extinct in your family dictionary, or when you just want to sit down and have your own space and time to just think (about nothing or everything!) but someone is wanting juice, help putting on those next to impossible polly pocket clothes, help cleaning up a spill etc and you just can't get that time alone unless you are in the bathroom (and even that is hard to do!),  or the time when your kids are dishevelled and unruly and then *that family* shows up that seems soooo perfect and makes you seem like a failure and you just want to be invisible......those are just some of those challenging moments, to name a few. But I find it's not even in the major moments where motherhood is the hardest, in fact I would argue that it is in the day-to-day life of a mom where some of the biggest mountains need to be traversed. I am talking about serious, only 6 more hours until daddy gets home, I can do this!! And inevitably we make it to the end of the day, and after the kids are tucked in bed, we flop down on whatever clean surface we can find and this what the rest of my life is going to be like? I am EXHAUSTED!!!

One of my biggest struggles has been finding purpose and value in my what I do. Sometimes it is so hard to see through the barrage of diapers, drool, mashed banana, laundry mountains, dishes, meals and the other 1000 things us mothers do in a day and see the importance of it all....sure, when I sit down and really think of it, I know this is an awesome, important, special, once-in-a-lifetime chance to raise the next generation....and my kids are my favorite, and I love them beyond words and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.....but how come I lose sight of all that in the day to day sometimes? Why does it have to be so hard? It is a daily, 'die-to-self' job, one that often times is only witnessed by you and God and hopefully one day our kids will 'rise up and called us blessed'....but, that is not why we do what we do.

We are mothers because we have been called to be.

These little lives (real humans!!!) have been given to us by God to mold, grow, love, encourage, train and walk alongside in this crazy thing called life....I mean, how AMAZING is that?! And there's something else. God knew that we needed to be molded, loved, encouraged, and trained during our adult years as well....and so He uses our kids to do that! It's one big refining fire! My kids reveal sin in my life on a daily basis which I think is the thing that is the most challenging to me as a mother. To face my weakness is not a fun time. I want to think that I have it all together....all by myself, and maybe let other people think that too. I have to remember that in our weakness, He is our strength......He can't help someone who is so full of pride that there is no room for His help. God uses my kids to teach me, to humble me, to shape me into the woman He wants me to be.....and I daily strive to leave behind selfishness, discontentment, complaining, impatience, anger, judging others, pride, hypocrisy, ingratitude and a whole slew of other un-Christ-like behaviors....all those reactions to the situations we find ourselves in on a daily basis while parenting (some days are a success and others are a complete disaster!....I am a work in progress!)

So, in the end, despite the challenging moments/ encouraged to know that there is eternal purpose in them.....for you and for your kids. Nothing comes easy....and that is's gonna hurt, and it's gonna be hard but in the end, we will be who He wants us to just hang in there as he shapes us through our kids! So, If you haven't had kids yet, don't let this scare you off....embrace it'll never be the same (in a good way) again!

These adorable faces bring the greatest joys and the most challenging moments!

Sweet Evie, a chance to mold another precious life