well. i have been in mali for three days now and i am still just in shock that i am here. how beautiful it was to finally be where God's plan had taken me! i was very encouraged to see all of the safer girls, as well as nate and the caswells and glen pick me up at the airport. everybody was such troopers for having to go to the airport at 1 am.  the process of getting my bags in Bamako was actually quite painless. fast and easy, although i do believe the malian men were fighting over who was going to take my bags out to the car. they spoke french and a little bit of english, so from the start i knew that language was going to have to be a huge priority when it came to scheduling. from the airport we headed to glen and karen's (who will be arriving tuesday) wonderful home, in Bacojikaroni ACE,  just right around the corner (literally) from where the girls' apartment is. We stayed for not even an hour till we decided to head back to the apartment and get some rest. now, remember all of this is in the dark, so i have not really seen  how anything looks- town, neighborhood, anything.
funny. i am not really a night owl type of person. well actually i am not at all.. i actually can be referred to as a grandma due to my sleeping habits. however, due to jet lag, and even after a long two days of traveling, i lay in my new bed thinking i will go right to sleep, but no i lay there till 4 in the morning. Well i had ""planned" on going to Gloria's culture coaching session with her at 9 am. i think you get where i am going.. no it did not happen. i ended up sleeping till 12 and lazily got up and ready for the day. i did, however, go to Bambara class with the girls to get my first glance at how transportation and language work in this new place i call HOME! so we leave the apartment and walk to the main road and call out for a taxi.. in America you get in, tell them where you are going and pay for however much the mileage was.. well in Mali.. you go up to the window tell where you will go and get in and talk about the price you will pay for the ride. calculations come to be that the girls pay around $2-$3 for a taxi ride one way really anywhere that they go. pretty cheap, and they said taxi drivers get paid the most. wow.  i was also very impressed with how they spoke Bambara to the taxi driver, that made me EXTREMELY excited to get started on classes!! we make it to class and we walk in and the teacher greets us and gets started. i told myself, now i cannot try to comprehend anything right now because these girls have been going at it for four months and if i try to learn today's work i will confuse the heck out of myself. so i simply just observed the girls and the teacher's style of teaching. well i must say. Bambara definitely isn't the easiest to learn, but i think once i get started and begin to learn the basics.. i know i will work as hard as possible to become as fluent as i can! after class, the girls took me to a place to eat called Le Ned (french for The Nest). i ate fish kabobs and fries. wow. it was so good!! day one ended with reflections at the smiths' house. day one was a success.
must i tell you that again.. i was up till around 3 am till i finally decided to take a sleeping pill to get some sleep. it finally kicked in around 4 and i didn't get up till 10am. i just couldn't handle this sleeping in so late. lol. i felt horrible! but i did get up and when the girls got back from class they(Nate tagging along)  took me to another place to eat on the other side of town called broadway. There i got a cheeseburger that was actually amazing! i couldn't believe it! (thats probably why they go there so much :) )  we head back to the apartment and just relax until later that night to go to the Caswell's to celebrate their daughter, Katie's, graduation. she is actually going to go to Evangel! pretty exciting she will be in springfield with me! let me tell you, that was such a great night. i was so honored to be at their house and i tell you why... there were missionaries and pastors there from all around the world.. to sit and talk and watch the interaction of all of these people who have sacrificed their lives, their family, their everything to serve the Lord, was just incredible. i am in Mali, Africa and conversing with theses heros. great opportunity and awesome food! thanks mrs. elaine!
today was another just great day. i really don't know how else to put it and for those of who you who know me, i am sure you can just imagine me saying all of this out loud. lol. but this morning i had the privilege to attend a Malian wedding at our home church. Cami and i got there around 9 and listened to the band practice, but the wedding did not start till 10. ok. so everyone knows that africans are NOT time oriented. so i will tell you that this wedding lasted, well till as long as we stayed, almost seven hours. yes we were at this malian outdoor wedding in the over 100 degree temperature for almost seven hours. but i will tell you, i loved every moment of it. there was a moment that i was looking around at these people and i knew inside that this is exactly where God wants me at this time of my life. i felt like crying, it was encouraging and motivating and a huge confidence booster! because you know,  i don't know the language yet and i have not been around, but three days, to learn the culture, but i know that God is going to strengthen me and keep pushing me along the way. thank you jesus!

i could really go on, but this post is getting a little long. i will explain more stories and emotions in detail next time. for now. in bambara you would say ne taara; in french je m'en vais & to all of my english speakers.. goodbye.


chris corcino said...

It's me chris from crossroads!! i hope all is well and what a great way i must say to blog your great adventure to serve!!

You are very inspiring and i will continue to pray for you, your strength and your family... keep pushin!!!

Los Corcinos

Don and Linda said...

So good to read your post. Glad you made the trip safely and are enjoying your surroundings. We pray you get over the jet lag soon. We will look forward to another post soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow... Chelsea it sounds amazing there, and I hope you know you are in a lot of people's prayers as you follow God's will in this!! You are such a light :)

René Martin said...

We are so proud of you, sweet girl! What a great adventure. May God bless you and keep you.