"don't make me use the spoon"

It's Heather's birthday tomorrow, and she just got a cell phone (since regular phones are almost never available to her). So I used this cartoon to make her a card...

And Heather just sent news from Nigeria. Here's an excerpt:

Let me tell you some of my favorite memories from this week.

Singing this morning with the kids. Sometimes these Nigerians just get into it. Singing, clapping. Christy raises one song after another, most of them in Hausa, dancing and clapping up a storm, and the others get into it and you've got this really complex rhythm with different people clapping at different times, everyone working together. Once at the weekly Mashiah Foundation prayer meeting we had this great complicated rhythm going during one song after another, and when Christy couldn't think of any more songs we didn't want to give it up, and just continued it, like a jam session.

(Incidentally, I know a lot of basic Christian-song words in Hausa now: thank you, love, God, Lord, etc…and did you know that God in Hausa—the most common tribal language here in Jos, by the way—is Allah? It's because the Muslims got to the Hausa before the Christians did… but now its just their basic word for God, everyone uses it.)

...Story-time. Story-time is always my favorite memory. I'm reading Tales of the Kingdom to them, a really beautiful book, a sort of myth with these profound spiritual themes but totally accessible to children. Kids love it, in fact. I'm sure some of you have heard of this book, and if you haven't…well, look it up. Except that I think the version I have (with beautiful illustrations) is out of print. Anyway… I won't be able to read them all the stories before the school is over, so I've even started to read some to the Bezer Home kids in the afternoon. I just read one about a girl who had named herself Dirty, who'd been taken in by a woman named Mercie but lived with the pigs and refused to come into the house until she met the King in the guise of a beggar… I got interrupted right before the end and had to go immediately, and the next day they just couldn't wait to hear the end. (It's a happy ending, so you know.)

I like to give kids stories. A story is something you can always keep, even if you lose everything you can hold in your hands. Like a song. Especially a story that reminds you of God, that's got an echo of glory in it.