Double Date

Michele and I have been talking about taking the kids out on dates for a while. Yesterday, we finally did it. Chele took Ashe to see Despicable Me 2, which sounded awesome. I took Becs to play board games and puzzles at Panera Bread.

It’s game time!!


Saturday Night Racing

Ashe and I have made it a tradition to hang out at the dirt track Saturday nights when we are at Mom’s. Ashe even asked about going to the race track tonight while driving up here.

Alicia even joined us tonight, which is always great!

As always, we are pulling for Rusty Ballenger. driving the neon orange #29.






Level of Hospitality

“Now do what I say, and let me give you a little something to eat so you can regain your strength for the trip back.โ€

But Saul refused to eat anything. Then his advisers joined the woman in urging him to eat, so he finally yielded and got up from the ground and sat on the couch.

The woman had been fattening a calf, so she hurried out and killed it. She took some flour, kneaded it into dough and baked unleavened bread. She brought the meal to Saul and his advisers, and they ate it. Then they went out into the night. 1 Samuel 28:22-25

I do not think I have any concept of hospitality as compared to other cultures of the world. These verses scream to me about this fact.

As I read about the woman offering to feed Saul, I thought that this was a very nice gesture.ย Then I read what she did to feed Saul. She killed the fattened calf, cooked it, and made unleavened bread. This must have taken a lot of time!! This is where my disconnect began. I would have given Saul some trail mix, a Cliff bar, and a glass of water or soda. Maybe, I would have popped in a microwaveable meal to feed Saul and then would have sent him on his way. Either way, my hospitality would have been a lot shorter.

Mmmm, beef

Mmmm, beef

The first part of the problem for me is time. I live in a world where instantaneous feels incredibly slow. I live in an accelerated world of instant access to everything. For me, food is no different in most instances.

The second part of the problem is how we see guests in the United States. We see guests as an intrusion. A welcome inconvenience, but an intrusion nonetheless. You do not believe me? Listen to our words when we stop by other people’s houses: “sorry to stop by,” “sorry to bother you,” or “I will only be a few minutes.”

We say these things all of the time and may not even realize it. This intrusion mentality is not the same across all cultures, though. In our Senegalese cultural training, our trainers informed us that the Senegalese consider having visitors to be a great honor. In Senegal, you can actually show someone how special they are by simply stopping by, saying hi, or eating dinner with them.

I wonder how easily I could change my own cultural training and better welcome someone into our home for a great number of hours while Chele and I cooked them dinner and worked to make them feel comfortable.

In an effort to test it out, I guess Chele and I will have to buy a calf and fatten it up. Of course, when the day comes when we welcome a guest into our house Chele will have to hurry out and kill the calf. I am sure she would be excited to do so. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, I understand that a lot of the woman’s hospitality is encouraged by the fact that Saul is king. The calf might have been killed because Saul was king, but the entire amount of welcoming hospitality is probably no different for any other person who was in Saul’s condition.

The Many Outfits of Becs

Becs had a busy day yesterday doing work around the house and performing for Alicia and me. Notice the three different outfits she had on in the one day.

House Repairs
Becs loves to help. Yesterday, she asked to help me while I patched up a big hole at the end of our hallway.

She wore her princess pajamas and princess high heels.


Cleaning the Windows
Ashe and Becs were cleaning the windows. Ashe has a lot of patience with her while he is trying to do his weekly work. This time, Becs is wearing her pink tutu.


Our Matinee
Bechan sang this same song multiple times prior to me recording this video. The song in this performance must have been the dramatic portion of her performance.

Notice the cue to clap and the humble acceptance of that applause. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, thank you.

The Value of Water

I do not fully understand the impact of water. Even after trying to educate myself more about the value of water, it is something I still take for granted. Even after seeing receive semi-accessible water, I still do not appreciate its true importance.

I say semi-accessible because the village does not have water in every hut. They do not even have water in every extended-family compound. There are approximately four spigots distributed throughout the village of 2,000 people. That is one faucet for every 500 people!

Yet, when a few of us met with the village's chief last week, he continued to talk about the water God brought to his village. He did not just talk about it a little bit. After receiving the water almost two years ago, the chief continued talking about the water at great length. The chief talked about how the accessible water improved the villagers' health; saved the villagers' time; and allowed them to have a functional, year-round garden.

I think the village chief understands the value of water a lot more than I do. In fact, the chief was so appreciative about having water for his village that I felt very convicted. For a brief amount of time that afternoon I felt I should just focus all of my efforts into bringing water to those who need it. Admittedly, those thoughts have passed, but no the conviction about being more aware of helping those who need life-giving water.

What that looks like, I do not know, but it is something I will have to chew on and look toward for the future. May I be given a heart for providing physical water as I also gain an ever-increasing desire to share the living water.

Typical Water Spigots In Village

Typical Water Spigots In Village

Gene with the spigot

Gene with the spigot

Small Number of Water Containers Waiting In Line

Small Number of Water Containers Waiting In Line

First Day With Accessible Water

First Day With Accessible Water

The Water Is Stored In Cisterns

The Water Is Stored In Cisterns

Refilling the Cistern

Refilling the Cistern


Our Schedule

Well, I wrote a blog post about my thoughts about the upcoming week while I was on the plane. I cried, I laughed, I may have drooled a couple of times. Nonetheless, I believe it may have very well been my life’s greatest work. My piece de resistance. WordPress did not agree. The app deleted my post.

So, here is the other blog post I wrote talking about our schedule for this week.

As Asher and I were walking to school Thursday morning, I talked with him about where we were going. I told him that when I first started going all he knew was that I was going to Africa. The next couple of times he knew I was going to Senegal on the African continent. This time, I thought he might like to know where we are supposed to be. So, here you are, Asher.

Friday: Arrive in Dakar, Senegal. (Dakar is the capital city of Senegal)
Saturday: Arrive in Thies.
Sunday: Church in Diemane
Monday: Medical clinic in Diemane
Tuesday: Medical clinic in Ndolndol (I have not idea where this is. We have never been to this village.)
Wednesday: Medical clinic in Ngaskop
Thursday: Medical clinic in Thies
Friday: Return to Dakar
Saturday: Return to Charlotte

If you are not already doing so, you can check out our team blog posts at Charlotte To Senegal. Every day, a team member will share some of their thoughts, experiences, or stories from the trip. We will also upload some photos from that respective day.

I thought Asher might like some of the extra airplane photos. Chele, you can also show Asher the dinner I had last night to make him feel better about the awesome food you are feeding him. Haha!